May 6, 2008
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”
James 3:13 (NIV)
Have you ever heard someone say, “That speaks volumes to me?” What does that really mean? It means that something they heard or read went much further than just the sentence or paragraph that was spoken. It means that somehow the words reached inside them and touched a place that was broken or missing or in need of reassurance. It means that the words resonated throughout their heart and mind, echoing in every area of their life.
I want to be a Christian that speaks volumes into the lives of those around me. Not through my eloquent speeches or profound sermons. Not through my emails or blog posts or devotions. I want to speak volumes through my life. The trick is living a life that is visible to others— yet transparent and not hypocritical. I have to live out loud without hesitancy, without apology and without fear. That’s a tall order that involves a series of daily, intentional choices. And so, I ask myself a series of questions to help me make these choices often.
Am I insulating myself in a Christian bubble that eliminates me from encountering people who need Jesus?
Am I sharing stories of what Jesus means to me and has done for me with those I encounter?
Am I staying grounded in God’s word and praying without ceasing?
Am I the same person behind closed doors that I am around others?
Am I readily admitting my own faults and struggles to others?
Am I quick to forgive others, to not judge them and to try to see them through God’s eyes and not my own?
Do I have someone I am accountable to, and do I listen when they call me on the carpet?
What would my family and friends say about who I really am?
What would God say about who I really am? Who am I when no one else is looking?
All of these things are elements in my life that need my constant focus if I am to be a person whose faith is attractive to others. I have to make myself stare these things down, instead of turning my head and pushing them to the side to be dealt with another day. One of the biggest complaints I hear against Christianity is that Christians profess to believe one thing, but act entirely different. We profess to have love, but don’t act lovingly. We profess to be humble but act proud. We profess to be forgiving but exercise harsh judgment. We say we follow Jesus but exemplify none of His character qualities—avoiding the people He came to serve in the process.
Last summer, a neighbor of mine stopped me at the pool. “I see you running every day,” she said. “I admire that dedication you have to run even when it’s so hot outside.” As I walked away from that conversation, I thought about what she had unknowingly showed me. I have never seen her peeking out her window or waving from her yard. I never knew she saw me, never noticed her noticing me. And yet she was watching.
We may never know the numbers of people who unknowingly watch us run the race of life. They will see us struggle and strain, falter and even fall. But it is our dedication that will speak volumes. The fact that we keep going out there and trying again that they will remember. When we live a life that is visible, transparent and committed to God, we speak volumes to those around us. Even though we might never know we did.
Dear Lord, Help me to live a life that is visible and attractive to those who don’t know You. Let my life constantly point people back to You. Show me how to do that and help me when I struggle. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Becoming a Woman of Influence, Message on CD by Marybeth Whalen
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Write down the questions from this devotion in your journal. Get into the habit of reviewing these questions at least weekly.
Did any of the questions I ask myself hit home with you? Which ones?
Do you live a life that is loud, transparent and devoted to God?
What keeps you from doing so? What equips you to do so?
I Peter 2:12, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (NIV)
James 2:18, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” (NIV)
© 2008 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 06 May 2008.