Mark Twain said, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
The difference is in the doing. Words are meaningless without the actions to back them up. I mean, how easy is it to say, I love you. It’s, practically speaking, effortless, it’s the actions that go along with the phrase that give it life.
If I say I like to eat oranges but never buy, peel and eat one, than there is no flavour to enjoy and no benefit to my body. If I say, I’m going to start working out on Monday, but never get up earlier and pick up the weights, there is not only no benefit for me, but I’ve deceived myself with my words that lack action. If I say to my husband, I’m going to walk the dogs for you today, but don’t leash the dogs and take them out the door; then there is no benefit for the dogs (or me) or for him. Seems pretty elementary doesn’t it – I am not what I say; I am what I do.
Jesus shows us this when he asked, “Which is easier to say: your sins are forgiven or get up and walk?” (Matt. 9:5). He proved Himself by what He did, not by what He said.
It’s so easy to say, “I love You God?” Same as with the promise to walk the dogs, it’s effortless. We need action for it to be brought to completion. If there’s no follow through of actions for one another, then what we say lacks life and proves nothing.
Doing activities for God doesn’t give life to marriage. If I say I love God and spend 1 hour every morning studying His word; read many books on marriage, and study to learn what God says is a good wife. To be sure, these are all good things to do FOR God, but to not make the next step of doing what I’ve learned then it’s wasted time and amounts to nothing. What was the point? All of my big talk of loving God and effort simply float off into oblivion leaving nothingness in their wake. But if actions follow my words then they become real, effective and powerful.
I can say I love God until I’m blue in the face, but every day that passes and I show no love toward my brother, then the words don’t reach God and they simply deflate like a slow leak in a balloon – they are hindered by my lack of love. My love for God is authenticated when I prove it to Him by doing His love, to others, including my husband.
We’ve all experienced or gone through seasons of hurt that hit us with mind numbing frustration, anger and dare I say, even hate. These hateful thoughts and hateful words cripple harmony and leave unity to be a distant memory. It was in this, (not one of my most shining disciple days) that the Lord refused to let me point a finger at my husband’s heart, Do you see the way he is?! God would respond, Do you see the way you are. And in a full-fledged feeding frenzy to my flesh, But God, don’t You see what he did?! God patiently waited for me to swallow my mouthful of self-pity, But Robyn, do you see what you ARE doing:
If anyone says, I love God, and hates (detests, abominates) his brother [in Christ], he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, Whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20, emphasis added)
In the vein of Mark Twain: The wife who has received God’s love and doesn’t allow it to pass through her has no advantage over the wife who doesn’t know God’s love.
My actions toward my brother will be the litmus test of my love for God.