Monday, May 7, 2012

LOL: Actions Matter

Memory/Meditation Verse: Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct;  for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. ~ 1 Peter 1:13-16 (HCSB)

I have a question for us today...

Why do our actions matter as long as we believe the right things?

Our community bible study has begun a journey of walking through the Letters to the Churches. Verse by verse we are dissecting Paul's writings and looking for spiritual application. It is here in Galations 2 that this question came to me.

Paul had just spent three years exploring his conversion, his faith, his beliefs. He came to an understanding of Calvary that went beyond his Jewish upbringing. His religion became a relationship. During those three years God became real to him and the magnificence of this new found faith could not be contained. As he met up with Peter and other apostles of the church he met up with a demon we all have encounter...hypocrisy.

Take a few minutes to read Galatians 2:11-21 here in the Message version 

Hypocrisy...a state of pretending to have moral or religious beliefs, principles, virtues. Pretending. Not real. False. Peter found this in Antioch among the religious leaders of his day. They had created a ladder of legalism trusting it to lead to God. A standing before God was being promoted on a basis of efforts to keep the law. Yet Paul knew first hand from his conversion that legalism had nothing to do with God's grace.

John Piper stated in a sermon: 
"God gave the law originally as a railroad track to guide Israel's obedience. The engine that was suppose to pull a person along the track was God's grace, the power of the Spirit. And the coupling between our car and the engines was faith, so that in the Old Testament, like the New Testament, salvation is by grace, though faith, along the tracks of obedience (or sanctification)."

Paul's relationship with God drove him to be confrontational with Peter in this situation and point him to the truth that the closer you think you get to God by your works, the further you actually drive Him away and the further you drive others away. 

Have you ever noticed how contagious hypocrisy can be? Even Barnabas, a man of compassion, was sucked into this false belief. A fear of not "fitting in" was evident and Paul knew it could be corrected. But for Paul, actions matter--actions that were driven by faith, reflecting Calvary's message. 

Living out loud may require a confrontational living because Calvary matters to your heart. When one Lives Out Loud they Act Out Loud. Dare we say as Paul did that actions without faith is dead and a hypocrisy to Calvary's message.

Actions matter. Calvary mattered. Faith matters. It's about God-knowing Him, believing Him, embracing Him, obeying Him and living that relationship out loud. Its about taking your stand beneath Calvary's cross, crucifying your selfish reliance on anything other than God himself. From the moment you awake in the morning until the moment your eyes close in sleep at night, you look to Christ for protection, motivation, courage, and direction.

So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, "I am holy; you be holy."
~ 1 Peter 1:13-16 (Message)

Holy and Sovereign God, you are worthy of only our best. Hypocrisy nulls your grace and tarnishes your truth. Enable us to identify any hypocrisy in our lives, to confront it, remove it and live loudly your truths. You matter therefore our actions matter. Guide us to live moment-by-moment out loud for you.

Striving to Live Out Loud~ Pamela