For the first time in a long time I went out to a concert last night with my wife and her brother. It was a great gift from my brother-in-law, tickets to an Owl City concert with Matt Kearney opening for him. Perhaps you remember Owl City from the song "Fire Flies" that was popular for a while, but he sings a number of other really good songs as well. Personally I can take him in small doses but I find too many of his songs have the same style so I find myself getting overwhelmed by it after a while. However, my wife and brother-in-law really enjoy it so I enjoyed enjoying it with them.
Something I noticed during the concert was that many of the attendees were more into the music than they were the lyrics. They would move and sway and one girl was dancing all over the place but much of the words being sung seemed to go right over their heads. Owl City sings a lot about God in his songs, giving God honour, glory and expressing his love and appreciation for all that God is. He also sings about all kinds of relationships which seem a lot of people identify with. His music is very positive and uplifting. I may find his style of music to be the same all the time but his lyrics are incredible. Yet, much of it goes right past the listeners because very few people listen to words any more. Words seem to hold very little value to these newer generations that have been bombarded by so many words.
One of the teens in my church told his mother the other day that he didn't see the sense in coming to church because "it's just words". What a sad statement, that the Church is just words. Just words but those words are vital and can be life changing. Even Jesus is known as the Word of God made flesh and that's what I want to consider for a moment. It is significant that to save us God had to clothe his Word in flesh in order that he could take action for us. Words are important; what we say and how we say it has great impact but first we need to convince people to listen. This happens when they are attracted by what we do.
A man may tell a woman that he loves her a million times without any reaction from her but the moment he allows his love to take action by some kindness or sacrifice she is all ears to his words. We tell our children that we love them all the time, and that is important, but they are convinced of our words when we demonstrate it in our actions. The world has stopped listening to our words because they are not convinced by our actions. They are confused with the immaturity they see in the Church, when we fail to love each other because of trifling matters. How can they be convinced of God's love when God's children can't even get along? Allow me to share some important words with you.
Jesus commanded us: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
The world will know our words are authentic when we love each other as Jesus has loved us, by our actions and sacrifice. Paul, the once great persecutor of the Church, turned great lover of Jesus and his Body, taught:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
I really appreciate how he worded it:
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)
I could go on and on with the Scripture but allow me to share just one last one from a man who had to learn how to love with great maturity:
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)
My point is simple; the world is not going to listen to our words until we have attracted them by our actions. When did the crowds start following Jesus? Was it when he started his preaching of the Good News or when he started healing people out of his great compassion for a suffering humanity? It was because of his great acts of love that people started listening to his message. If we continue telling the world that Jesus loves them but continue to hate one another then they will not even listen. If we tell the world that Jesus loves them but then treat the lowly sinner with hatred and contempt then they will not listen. When did Jesus die for us? Was it after we cleaned up our act? No:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
You notice, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this". God didn't just tell us he loved us but he demonstrated it in his actions. And he didn't demonstrate it once we were presentable to him but he did it when we were rotten with sin. This is love ...
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:10-11)
This is love for God: to obey his commands. (1 John 5:3)
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. (2 John 1:6)
Perhaps it is time to stop talking until our actions become as attractive as the message. Love is not being right. Love is obedience to God. Actions always speak louder than words!