For instance, we say that we believe in the power of prayer, but when was the last time that we spent thirty minutes in prayer?
We say that we believe that the Scriptures are the inspired word of God, but when was the last time we seriously studied them?
We say that we believe that following Jesus is the best life that anyone could possibly live, but when was the last time that we shared the gospel with someone?
We say that we value living life together in Christian community, but when was the last time that we sacrificed, whether financially or with our time, for our community?
We say that we trust God, but when was the last time we despaired and doubted?
What we do shows what we really believe. The right answers are easy. Too easy. But living out the radical call of the gospel in our lives is difficult.
Paul wrote in his letter to Colossae, "Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Colossians 3:9-10 (ESV)
Why is it so hard to be honest with ourselves? Do we not like who really are? Are we embarrassed about our failures? Paul said to not lie to one another, but I think we really need to stop lying to ourselves. We need to put on that new self, allow the knowledge that we become enlightened with to transform us, but we can never do that if we keep telling ourselves that the old, out-of-style clothes that we are still wearing are still in.
We have developed an immunity due to familiarity with the Gospel that should transform us. As churchgoers, we have developed, what I consider, sermon immunity. It means that we can listen to a sermon, think it is great or awful, and go home and not do a thing about. We have learned how to listen to a message and remain immune to any change.
What Paul wants us to do is really believe in the depths of our being. To allow our beliefs to wash through our body and come out in the way we live. For a belief that is kept in the head and not expressed in the hands and feet is not a true belief. It's just us deceiving ourselves. And if we won't be the hands and feet of Jesus' head, who will be?
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.Let's stop lying. We have places to go and new clothes to put on to get us there.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:22-27 (ESV).