“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” – James 2: 17-18 NIV
Actions Speak Louder
Yeah, I am a former athlete. By that, I mean that I played sports growing up and now I am lucky if I can make it through a youth group event without a major injury. Regardless, I learned many lessons during my athletic “prime” as a backup quarterback and utility infielder.
One particular lesson that I learned way back when has only recently started to make sense. You see, when attempting to tackle somebody that is carrying a football, you have to know which way he is going to try and run around you. Most players will often give you a head and shoulder fake. They may take a step in the opposite direction to get you off balance. It can be easy to fall for this kind of deception.
But the sure fire way to tell where a ball carrier is going is to watch his hips. No matter how the rest of his body moves, when his hips are pointing in a certain direction, his body has no choice but to follow. The player’s hips are always an accurate indication of where he is going. As my old coach used to say, hips don’t lie.
I never really felt like that lesson applied to my life and my faith until a few years ago. Sister Helen Prejean, a nun that is famous for being an activist against the death penalty, came to visit the campus on which I work. In the midst of her speech, she dropped one line that seemed to resonate with most of the crowd. She said, “I watch what I do to see what I believe.”
At first, I scoffed at that. I have always thought that your beliefs dictate your actions, not the other way around. However, after putting some thought into it I realized how accurate Sister Prejean’s statement is.
We often judge others on their actions and ourselves on our intentions. Sister Prejean challenged us to turn that on its ear and to evaluate ourselves based on our actions. If we take a real look at the way we treat people, the things we spend our time on, and how much effort we put into our calling, we will get a pretty clear picture of what we truly value and how important our “beliefs” really are to us. If we actually believe what we claim to believe, then our actions will directly reflect that.
It’s like my coach always said, hips don’t lie.
– Jamie Boggs