Last week I met up with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time and something she said really stuck with me. We were having a discussion about why it’s important to serve and her response was that what we do doesn’t matter, all that matters is what we think. I strongly disagree. What we do here on earth does matter. We can’t walk around with well-meaning intentions and expect it to make any difference if we fail to act on them. The Christian walk is about having faith rooted in Christ and a deep, passionate love for Him. The things we do are an extension of that love we have for our creator. Don’t mistake me: we are not saved by works, but by faith (Ephesians 2:8). Salvation is a free gift from God and we can do nothing to ever deserve that gift. However, our actions and our decisions do matter here on Earth and here is why.
1. Our Actions Mark Us as Believers
1 John 2:5-6 states, “But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love, is truly made complete in Him. This is how we know we are in Him: whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” Our goal as Christians to grow increasingly more and more Christlike. That is literally what I pray every morning: that God would strip away my selfish desires and that He would make me reflect His love and His goodness through my actions. We’re not perfect, we’re still sinful humans and we will mess up, but we ought to be striving towards Christ.
2. It Completes Our Faith
James 2:14 states, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” James goes on to answer his question by saying, “In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). Action is a natural reaction to the faith we have. It follows the faith. True faith naturally produces good deeds, it points to the Father. When someone is truly saved, it is inevitable that action is to ensue.
3. God Tells Us That Our Actions Matter
James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Don’t just sit passively at Church and absorb information only to leave and live your life opposite of what God commands. Go out there and obey the word of God. Sometimes it is really hard to obey. Sometimes stealing something when no one is looking might seem harmless and save you some money, but obeying God is what is really important. Think about how much your character costs.
4. We are Fighting a Real Battle
At my church, The Austin Stone, we are going through the topic of spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6:11-12 states, “Put on the full armor or God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world […] put on the full armor of God.” Paul uses the metaphor of armor for a purpose: we are at war. The devil is described as “prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). We should have a sense of urgency in our walk with the Lord and we should be aware of how satan tries to deceive us. We need to remember that we may be the only Christian someone comes into contact in their entire life and it’s important to live our lives to honor and glorify the Lord through our actions. We need to show others through our interactions, our sacrificial love, and our testimonies the love of Christ that surpasses understanding.
What we do does matter. We cannot be saved by works alone, but rather our works are an extension of our faith. It is impossible to have true faith without seeing action. They complete each other! I encourage you to live your life radically and purposefully for him.