Action, Not Emotion

May 13, 2022

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18 NLT

      “Put up or shut up.”

      “Talk is cheap.”

      "Actions speak louder than words.”

      “Put your money where your mouth is.”

      “You can talk the talk, but you don’t walk the walk.”

      “Show me, don’t tell me.”

None of those phrases are in the Bible, but the principle surely is. Nothing is hit harder by God than hypocrisy. Nothing is more discouraging and even hated by God and people than words that are not backed up by action. If your actions are not bigger than your words, you are a living and breathing disappointment. People today are keenly aware of hypocrisy. They can smell it a mile away and love to point it out, perhaps especially when they find it in a Jesus follower. If you consistently speak one way and act another, you won’t fool people for very long. You’ll be called out for the fraud you are.

Through all of the 66 books and 40 authors we see that in the Bible love is more an action than words. Jesus proved His love by the life He lived and sacrificed on the cross. He called us to be His light in the world, shining in such a way that people would see and receive the love of the Father for them. Children of God, followers of Jesus, cannot be hypocrites. We speak love through our actions. We don’t just say we love God; we show it by obeying His commands. We don’t just say we love our fellow man; we show it by living in a way that puts the needs of others first.

Paul paints a vivid picture of love with action in 1 Corinthians 13. He tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love and then tells the results of love in nine actions. Love that you only hear is not Jesus-style love. Love must be seen and felt through action. Emotion can’t afford to be first—emotion is a response to correct action. And your emotion will show up when you begin receiving God’s grace and power to live and love in action, not just in words.

It’s a promise. The “I shoulds” and the “I ought tos” will gradually disappear from your life. Grace replaces those with a joyful “I will” and “I want to.” The hopeless task of trying to live up to other people’s expectations and the sense of always disappointing God is replaced by the knowledge and joy of your love expressed in action. You sense His pleasure in you, and that becomes the source of joy.

  • Lord, I don’t want to act with a thumb continually in my back. Help me learn to receive the grace to lovingly act because I want to. Amen.