When I was younger, the old folk used to say, “You can make your mouth say anything.” They meant until your actions lined up with your words you were a hypocrite, a perpetrator, or a downright liar.
Today, Millennials (ages 24-39) and Gen Z (ages 4-23) say the same thing about today’s church leaders they see preaching and teaching one thing but living something else. Millennials and Gen Z are leaving church because they are looking for authentic relationships with God and each other; not just religious rituals. They hear what you say but see what you do.
Two thousand years ago, James, the brother of Jesus, called out Christians who talked the talk but did not walk the walk. In James 1:26, He said this type of Christian service was worthless:
If anyone thinks himself to be religious (piously observant of the external duties of his faith) and does not bridle his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person’s religious service is worthless (futile, barren) (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition [AMPC]).
James also taught that an authentic relationship with God must include service to man. Vertical Christian activity (prayer, praise, meditation on His Word) must be accompanied by horizonal service (clothing the naked, visiting the prisoners, feeding the hungry). James’ calls what the Millennials and Gen Z are looking for “pure religion.”
External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world (James 1:27, Amplified Bible, Classic Edition [AMPC]).
“An unknown author captured eloquently the way in which we so religiously fall short of Christ’s demand of service for others:
I was hungry and you formed a humanities club and discussed my hunger.
I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release.
I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
I was homeless and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me.
You seem so holy, so close to God.
But I’m still very hungry and lonely and cold” (https://www.preceptaustin.org/ james_126-27).
To be the church God has called us to be we must not only practice what we preach by serving others with a sincere heart, but we must do both while keeping ourselves “unspotted and uncontaminated from the world” (James 1:27). Jesus is our example. He taught, delivered, healed, and ate with sinners so often he was accused of being a glutton and drunkard (Matthew 11:19), a law breaker (Luke 13:10-17), and used by the devil (Luke 11:14-26). Jesus kept on praying to the Heavenly Father, kept on serving mankind, and never allowed himself to become conformed to this world (Hebrews 4:15).
James 1:26-27 is clear: commune with God, serve man, and do not imitate the wicked ways of this world.
What stood out for you in these two revelatory verses? Share with us. Join the conversation.
Years ago, older people often said – do what I say do NOT what I do and amazingly they never figured out that their actions really DID speak louder than their words. Sadly, that same handbook is being used more often than we care to admit. This blog is a refreshing reminder that we should Lead by Example. Thank You !
I agree Dr. with what the religious leaders need to do is to practice a vertical relationship with God. Many preachers and ministers use their work for God, preaching with performance, as a substitute for their relationship. Many preachers/ministers will hoop and tune a Sunday morning service and feels that is a relationship with God. Sorry, not so.
Well written, Dorothy! Thanks for sharing!
The old adage actions speak louder than words I believe too, Dorothy! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you D Haire for this blog. I agree we can say stuff with out mouth, but our actions do not back up way we say. I want what I do & say to be pleasing to God first and displayed by other to be trustworthy. I want to treat others the way I want them to treat me. I want my conversation to be dependable. I don’t want to be like the world even though I live in the world, I want what I and say & do to represent the God that I serve and my main priority is pleasing him. I want my talk to fall in line with me walk with God, knowing when to speak and when to keep my mouth shout. I believe whats in the heart will out out of the mouth. Thank you for the Blog.
When I was growing up I heard the term “Good Religion”. Even sang the song “Have you got good religion, certainly Lord”. I was taught it meant being faithful to going to church and working in the church. Not letting God have His perfect work in you. Thank for adding the article. It prompted self examination.
Praise God, very grateful for your blog Dr. Haire and an instrument for the Lord’s use. It’s so vital and of utmost importance to live a holy life before the Lord and God’s people. The church needs to be the church that exemplify the love of God. People not only listen , but watch everything the church does. We as a church are to minister the gospel, and serve God’s people. Remember action speaks louder than words! We must as a church practice what we preach.
Recently I discovered that I can choose what not to say when one of my friends tries to correct me. She has her opinion and we don’t always agree. It makes me feel defensive because she comes across so strongly trying to show me I am wrong. If it was truly important, I would pray for a time when she is willing to listen. Controlling your tongue can include speaking in a way that does not unnecessarily hurt other people. But in some situations, it’s best to control your tongue by not speaking.
Thank you Dr. Haire for this weeks blog. What stood out to me was verse 27. My continuous prayer is that my act of love will touch the heart of man, not to what I do but recognize that the love of God in me is real.
Being able to not speak, speaks loudly. It’s not always easy.
Oh!…did I enjoy this blog! You are right on target again, Pastor. We must come to the realization that it’s not just about religion(rules and regulations), but a relationship with our Lord and Savior.
We are constantly being watched. Let them see Jesus when they look at you! This the closest some will see Him!
We must Walk what we Talk!
Thank you Dr. Haire for sharing the truth of God word I see this kind of practice of living in the church too. They go to church but they don’t bring it home in their hearts .they have no understanding of the truth they hear.i talk to people who says church was so good but they can not tell me what they hear.this word has blesse very me so very much thank you
26 verse to me one having a form of godliness but denying the power within; not in word only but power; honour with lips but heart far away. 27 verse ephesians 5:26,27 this comes to mind.
This blog brings to mind a saying of the older people,
“Somebody’s watching you.”
We are living epistles read of men. We are the only Bible some people will ever read. Our walk and our talk should line up. It is important that our actions speak louder than our words. It is important to have a right relationship with the Lord who is able to help our walk speak louder than our talk.
This blog truly addressed the atmosphere and temperature of the body of Christ and brings clarity as to the lack of signs and wonders actively working in it. We must return to being dispensers of God’s love and compassion for people. Thank you Dr Haire for the reminder.
Our actions speak louder than our words. We want our children to be the best but are we living our best before them. Children are watching and listening to us. We have to walk what we talk. Thank you for sharing.
This is real and a much needed reminder of what we as Christians are called to. We are to be living examples not talking heads. Dr. it is not easy in this day and time to teach on the cutting edge. Thank you for this study of James.
Awesomely addressed Dr. Haire! I realize more and more that there is much service to do as Christians in addition to making sure we’re worshipping Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24) and that we don’t allow the, what I call, “Martha Syndrome” (Luke 10:42) to overtake us. There are so many needs and assignments but all are not for everyone! So important to get clear instructions from Him and the Holy Spirit daily, if not you can end up missing your assignment and accomplishing someone else’s! Is it important to know your role and assignment in all that leaders are called to do? y
I’m reminded how we should not only speak love, but show love in our deeds. Also, I heard before ‘our lives is speaking so loud that people can’t hear what we’re saying’. Thanks for the reminder that the love we give away is a testament of God working in and through us.
I enjoyed reading and spending some time thinking about this teaching. Makes one pay a little more attention to their actions. Looking forward.
Dorothy< your blog was spot on. People want to see our action not how much we know.
I agree. Our words speak louder than we can ever imagine but we have to be examples for the people and our children because whether we know it or not they are watching us. I remember when my youngest granddaughter was about two, she would come and stay with us and never wanted to go home anyway I would pray and have my devotion not knowing she was watching so one day as I was preparing to pray she came in the room with me and she kneel down like me and began to pray. She did everything I did. Now she eight and she still modeled before her parents and siblings what she learn which isn’t new to her dad because he was taught the same thing. I really enjoy your blogs. Keep them coming
Thank you for allowing me to be apart
I agree whole heartedly. We have to live the life we talk about. It is a way of life and not something to put on and take off. We are being watched and as it is said we may be the only bible one may see.