It is not particularly uncommon to hear Christians talk about what I will call ‘weekend behavior’ in ways not all that different from their non-Christian counterparts. Somewhere along the line, the very true idea of salvation by grace alone has been warped into the notion that what I do doesn’t really matter that much. After all, I am saved.
Christian Smith, a sociologist and author of Soul Searching and Souls In Transition has made exactly this point with respect to 14-28 year olds. Morality, for this group basically means being nice and not offending anyone. This holds true for the conservative Christians he interviewed, as well as those from other religious backgrounds. In further studies, he has noted that this attitude was caught from parents (my age group). So the problem runs deep.
In my time with God today, two texts leaped off of the page. One was from my ongoing personal reading which brought me to 2 John 6 today. That text said, “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.” The other text, from the assigned reading in my devotional book was John 14:21. It reads, “Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me.”
In other words, to ignore God’s commandments is really like saying to him, ‘I don’t love you.’
That’s worth thinking about.
What does the ever-growing-in-popularity choice to live with one’s boyfriend or girlfriend rather than marry that person say to God?
How about partying like a rock-star on the weekend?
Or stealing from the government by cheating on your taxes?
So we sing “I love you Lord” on Sunday morning but participate in behaviors like these during the week. According to the two texts I read today, as well as the understanding of what love is throughout the Old Testament, actions like these make our words fall flat.
If I want to respond to God in love, I must obey. That will likely cost me something. And it might offend someone. But in our response to God, as with our lives in general, actions do, in fact, speak louder than words.