How We Live Out Our Faith Reveals How Much It Means to Us
When we follow Jesus and give our life to him, we don’t need to do anything to earn our salvation or merit his good will. Eternal life is a gift he gives freely to us. Yet receiving it merits a response. How we choose to live out our faith in Jesus matters a lot.
A Secret Faith
I’ve known people who go to church and claim they’re a Christian, but few people know it—certainly not any of those outside of the church they attend. They’re very silent about their faith. They keep it a secret.
They claim that their faith is just between them and God. They justify their silence by saying that they don’t want to offend anyone. They’re stealth Christians, but in truth they may be fearful ones.
No one knows about their faith because they never mention it, and their actions are no different than anyone else in the world. Their witness to others and impact on the world is nonexistent. And they’re okay with it. But this must grieve Jesus.
Yes, if they have a true faith in Jesus, it will save them in the end. But they’ll receive no reward when they get to heaven. They did nothing to deserve one.
But this is not how we should live out our faith. We need to tell others about Jesus.
Others talk a lot about their faith. They work spiritual-sounding language into every conversation, whether it fits or not. They pepper their speech with religious-sounding words and lofty spiritual allusions, but they fail to live out their faith with any intangible action.
In reality, they live no differently than everyone else.
Though most people tolerate their incessant preachy pronouncements, few people want to spend much time with them. This is because they come across as fake, they don’t “walk the talk.”
But this is not how we should live out our faith either. We need to tell others about Jesus, through both our words and our actions.
James criticizes these inactive Christians. He says that faith without action is useless. He demonstrates his faith by his deeds, by what he does. Belief is not enough. James confronts his audience by bluntly saying that faith without deeds is dead (James 2:14-20).
As true followers of Jesus, we reveal our faith by what we do. We avoid trying to not offend like those with a secret faith or just speaking about it like the all-talk Christians. We live out our faith by what we do.
As St. Anthony of Padua said, “Actions speak louder than words.”
By Word and Deed
Then we have the quip to “Preach the gospel at all times. And if necessary, use words.” This may or may not have originated with St Francis of Assisi.
It presents a powerful image to grab our attention, but if we don’t accompany our faith-filled actions with faith-filled words, we lessen our impact and fail to best live out our faith. We must tell others about Jesus (Romans 10:14 and 2 Timothy 4:2).
To fully live out our faith, we do so by word and deed. We need to talk about our faith when appropriate and to confirm it by what we do at all times. This is the ideal witness.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.