Dont Tell Me With Words
by Rick Stephenson
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Actions speak louder than words! That’s the cliché! But is it really only a cliché or is their age-old wisdom in the phrase?
People tend to remember more about what you do than what you say. Just look down the hallowed halls of history to bear this out. Hence, with the political campaign machine beginning to ramp up for another season, many incumbents will begin to face this truth afresh as voters weigh what was said versus what was actually done. Should the two agree they will most likely be reelected without a problem but if they do not match up, the latest and newest grand talkers will take over.
Have you ever heard the phrase “they can talk a good game”? Where did this phrase come from and how is it used today? I believe the phrase originates from days prior to television when many sporting events were announced over the radio. In order to keep the interest of the listeners, many announcers embellished the action of slower moving games. Some announcers got so good at this that they began not even attending the games themselves but had others brining them the generic descriptions of the events and they verbalized them with such style that the listener could picture being in the center of the action. However, with the invention of television it soon became evident that these announcers could talk a good game even if the game itself was not all that exciting. Hence, over time this phrase began to take on a negative connotation that if someone was talking a good game, what they were talking about probably wasn’t true.
Other phrases such as “if you’re going to talk the talk you better walk the walk”, “practice what you preach”, “well done is better than well said” and “talk is cheap” have all had their heyday for basically the same thing. We all want action more than we want words. While words are good for some things when it comes to the important things in life, like love, emotional connection, promises or even spiritual revelations don’t just tell me with words rather define it with action!
Unfortunately, most Christians have not realized this. Many claim to be Christian by their talk but not by their walk. I think the difficulty lies in not understanding exactly what it means to be a Christian. Today the average so called Christian believes that they are a Christian because they believe in Jesus Christ (that is they believe He existed and that He talked a good game) and they said a few words, which they repeated after someone’s leading to accept Him as their personal Lord and Savior. Sure, their lives may have improved some and been noticeable to themselves but to others viewing their lives, not much has evolved.
To truly be a Christian we have to define what it means and simply put the word Christian is described as to be like Christ with the qualities that He had such as being kind, unselfish, helpful, concerned and loving. However, it goes even deeper than this because the word Christ is not some last name like we have today when I say I am Rick Stephenson. No, the word Christ actually stands for something. It means the anointed one. So rather than simply saying Jesus Christ we could say Jesus the anointed one.
Furthermore, what does it mean then to be anointed? When we say someone is blessed or ordained/appointed for an important job we can substitute the word anointed since this is it’s definition. Also, to be blessed can have the indication that they were rubbed with oil or ointment, which is interesting because in the Old Testament oil was a symbol of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, when we define anointed we can conclude that it means to be full of the Holy Spirit, blessed of God and called to do an important job.
Hence, to be a true Christian means to live like we are anointed as Jesus was anointed by God to be our Messiah or Savior. We have been anointed by God to be an example to others of His characteristics as found in scripture. This is why we are encouraged by James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (NIV) By doing so, we bring credibility to the fact that we call ourselves Christian.
Because our society today has become a visually stimulated society, out of our need to be shown not told, we need to remember that others are watching to see what a true Christian is all about. Since Jesus does not walk the earth physically anymore, we might be the only Jesus they get to see. Not that we as Christians expect to be on stage or viewed 24/7 but we need to be aware that others are indeed watching and evaluating. Should we make a mistake and live out our humanness before them rather than Christ’s example, we need to acknowledge it, apologize for the bad example, make any amends necessary and then get back into following our Savior’s own example after all He was one who didn’t just tell us with words, He showed us with His own actions!
God Bless! – Rick
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