Who hasn’t heard the old phrase, do as I say, not as I do. It’s a common ‘excuse’ some parents make in teaching their children… that somehow their words are worth following but their actions should be ignored. Obviously most of us realized the error in this statement. Your words only hold value if your actions support them.
Sherman Smith (of ’76 Seahawks) tells a story about how his words and deeds were not matching up. Ken Hutcherson had led him to Christ but his conversion had failed to actually change Sherman’s actions and attitudes. So one day Ken comes to Sherman’s home and asks him in almost a hush hush voice… “Are you a Christian?” “Of course” Sherman responded. But Ken’s response shocked Sherman. He said, “Well stop telling people that!” and walked off. Hutch’s point was that Sherman was ‘telling’ people he was a Christian but his ‘actions’ were not confirming his words, therefore his testimony was not helping anyone.
It’s critical that we let our “manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil 1:27a), this way when we do share the Gospel verbally, our actions support it. This was Paul’s case in giving his ‘defense’ before Agrippa. He first points out his life before meeting Jesus, shared about his meeting Jesus experience, and then tells of his life after meeting Jesus. His life was a living testimony of the Gospel.
Before meeting Jesus, he was ‘just like’ the Jews who were charging him now. In fact, he was so zealous that he was actively persecuting Christians himself. However once he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, his conversion was pure and genuine. From there, his life’s actions were in full support of his words, sharing the Gospel of Grace, the Good News of Jesus’s death paying the price for all sins.
Paul’s deeds were in full alignment of his words, therefore his words had value. When was the last time you check the match between your words and deeds? Neither should be all you focus on. If you have wonderful deeds but never speak the gospel, nobody knows the source of your deeds and they have no value. Likewise if you speak beautifully about the Gospel of Christ but have not deeds to back it up, your words fall of deaf ears for good reason.
Only by have BOTH words and deeds will your testimony hold water. Your deeds are there to support your words. Your words should tell of the good news of Christ, but your deeds should demonstrate you believe your own words.
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