“Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.” 1 John 3:19 (NLT)
Is there a difference between what you say you believe and how you really live your life? This disconnect between message and life is something we may have become more keenly, and painfully aware of during our prolonged shelter at home. Pastor and author, Rick Warren, has said the great disconnect between what we say we believe and how we really live causes most of the stress and discouragement in our lives. I say that my health is important, but I don’t always eat right or exercise. I say family is a top priority, but, many times, they take second place to my schedule or work. I say God has first place in my life, but then I rush into my day without spending time alone in His presence with His Word. John tells us in this passage that if we want to have confidence when we stand before God, our actions should show that we belong to the truth. In verse 18, he says, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”
How can we align our actions with what we believe? Our soul cries out for an authentic life, a life that is consistent with the things we believe in our hearts and know to be true. Yet, even the great Apostle Paul struggled with this dilemma in his soul. In Romans 7, he discloses “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to–what I hate.” Romans 7:15 (TLB)
If you’ve felt like this, you’re in good company! I believe God designed us to struggle with this great disconnect in our souls so that we would fall on our knees before Him and say, “I can’t do this, Lord, You never said I could, but You can and always said you would! I need Your Spirit in me to live the Christian life.” This is the fundamental difference between religion and Christianity, between holding to a creed and living out an authentic faith. It’s a personal relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ; a relationship that plays out in our daily lives. We are called to be the message we have become, not merely in word but in life by living the gospel through our everyday lives, making it real in our actions. And only Christ can live the Christian life. To experience that life, I need Christ.