Bloggers Themselves Must Be Doing Good Deeds
August 11, 2016
I always appreciate it when my husband ministers with me, especially when it involves things I can’t do. A few days ago he went with me to the home of an elderly friend and he fixed her T.V. Yesterday he went with me to visit another elderly person whose husband died earlier this summer and then on to visit someone else who is having to stay a few months in an elderly care center. This third woman we took out for lunch and drove her to where she needed to go for her errands. My husband had brought with him a leather-covered Bible that he had bought years ago but, being he has several Bibles, he wanted to give this extra (and still unused) one to my new friend. It was his suggestion to do so, not mine, and this suggestion was his sweet response when I had told him that this woman (not a Christ-follower –yet) had texted me to say she had started reading the book of Matthew. When we learned yesterday that the Bible she was using was from the care center’s library, we asked her if she wanted her own Bible and she did! We had it right with us to give to her, and on top of that, as we got ready to sign in it along with Num. 6:24-26 (a blessing prayer), she told us to add “Happy Birthday” as that (unbeknownst to us) was coming up next week. Isn’t it wonderful how the Lord arranges things?
I write the above to express thankfulness to the Lord as well as to my husband who, though he doesn’t evangelize with me at the bus stops, encourages me in it, makes sure my printer is working, supports me through his job’s income, and was the one who, seven years ago today exactly (on 8/11/09), set up this blog, saying, “Well, even if you said you don’t want a blog, your blog site is ready when you are.” I’ve smiled every time I think of how the Lord inspired him to do that, even when I didn’t yet know such a thing was God’s will for me. So in remembering this, as well as in writing the first paragraph above, I am especially feeling grateful to the Lord. Truly, He is so often reminding us that He is working to bring people to Him through our efforts, efforts that may, to us, seem meager. But are they meager if what we do and communicate is that which plants seeds in people –seeds of hope, of wisdom, of Truth, of encouragement, etc. from Christ’s love and Word– so that He can cultivate their hearts through it? Such efforts are not meager if they help individuals come into fellowship with God so that they too can learn to walk in His will for them.
And what is God’s will? It is that we love Him and others and that we show this love through deeds. It is not enough to merely speak or write, as good as that may be. God does tell us to proclaim His Word, but to do this merely through words on paper, in text, or across the internet is not entire obedience. Mt. 5:14-16 makes it clear that we are to shine Christ through our works (deeds / acts) as well. As Jesus commands there, “Let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” We are to offer to God our bodies as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1), not just offer our mouths and writings.
Even so, it seems that many bloggers, at the expense of spending alone-time with God, meditating on His Word, listening to His voice, praying on their knees, worshipping with psalms and songs, memorizing Scripture, and going out ministering in every way possible, are instead sitting at their desks, in their comfortable homes, or even in bed, reading what other bloggers write and then writing their own articles about how others should live. Writing against those who commit the sins of not taking up one’s cross or sacrificing one’s life for the Gospel, they remain at home allowing themselves to be the exception, unaware of their hypocrisy.
Truly, if we are not putting into practice what God’s Word says and what we ourselves are preaching, then we’d best refrain from writing and speaking. Jesus tells us to put His words into practice. (Mt. 7:24) He says that even if we hear (listen to / read) His words, if we do not put them into practice, we are headed for an enormous fall and crash (v. 27), even complete destruction. (Luke 6:49) Why? “Because you did not do what I said to do, but rather your own ‘pious’ things.” (See Jesus’ warnings in both passages –Mt. 7:21-27 & Luke 6:46-49)
I met a Bible teacher years ago who told me that he thought the contemporary church was most like the church in Sardis in Rev. 3:1-6. Maybe. Regardless, I do think it does describe many (certainly not all) bloggers. The Lord says there in verse one, “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” Christ is looking at our deeds / works. He is saying that although we may put forth a godly facade so that we have the reputation of being wise and righteous, He sees that we are dead. In verse two, the Lord commands, “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die.” Thus Jesus views this person –who believes herself to be spiritual– to actually be spiritually weak and asleep, and He is warning that any bit of Life in her is about to die! Why? Jesus says in the rest of verse two, “For I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.” Deeds. It is about deeds. Deeds that follow, match, and test the integrity of our words, our preaching, our promotion of Christ’s words. Our works must be complete, meaning faithful, in line with the Truth, and under the continuous control of the Holy Spirit in every area.
Jesus commands further in Rev. 3:3: “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent.” The Truth must be held to and fully obeyed. The decaying one must repent! If she does not, she is not worthy to be clothed in white. (v. 4) She will not overcome and her name is in danger of being erased from the Book of Life.” (v. 5)
Therefore, let us heed the command “to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” (1 Tim. 6:18) For it is by doing such things that we make for ourselves a firm foundation for the coming age, so that we may have a solid grip on true Life. (v. 19) Yes, good works, done in faith and obedience to the Spirit and Word, is what justifies us before God. (John 15:6,10 // Rom. 8:9 // Ja. 2:24 // 1 John 2:3-6)
Let’s take warning from Ja. 3:13 as well. It says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” That says a lot. It reminds us that the person who is wise, the person who understands God’s Truth and acts accordingly, is revealed to the rest of us by that person’s righteous life, and that such a life consists of deeds –deeds that are done in humility, a humility that comes from wisdom, God’s Wisdom. For men’s wisdom, which aligns with envy, selfish ambition, pride, and a denial of the Truth (v. 14), is a false wisdom that is “earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.” (v. 15) Deeds produced from this wisdom are Death. (Mt. 7:21-23 again)
So, concerning these “spiritual” people who exempt themselves from Christ’s command to produce good deeds, –what are some of their main excuses? Well, we know this one: “I’m too busy.” Yet time for movies, T.V., ball games, chatter with friends, eating, shopping, hobbies, and surfing the internet, is certainly not left out.
Another related excuse is this: “I have to make money for my family.” Yes, we should do that for if we do not provide for those God has entrusted us with, we are worse than unbelievers. (1 Tim. 5:4-8) However, we should also ask ourselves if we really need all that we are working to possess. Shouldn’t we try to get down to the bare minimum if it will free us up to better serve Christ? We are to be content in every situation, whether in plenty or in want (Phil. 4:11,12), for we must be devoted to Him alone, not money, possessions, recognition, or anything in the world. (Luke 16:13 // 1 John 2:15)
There is also this excuse: “I’m too tired.” Or, “I don’t have the energy.” Or, “I’m sickly.” Maybe these excuses should be expressed to Joni Eareckson Tada (http://www.joniandfriends.org/blog/) who has not let her quadriplegia stop her from ministering in huge ways across the globe, and find out how she would answer. We know from God’s Word that it is when we feel most unable or weak in ourselves that Christ’s power is made perfect in us to make us humble and strong for every assignment He commands of us! (2 Cor. 12:7-9 // Phil. 4:13) Besides, if a person has the energy to repeatedly write long articles reprimanding the world, it is simply their lack of faith that disables the energy to get out and minister where the Holy Spirit can empower them for every task in line with God’s will.
Someone might use the excuse, “I’m too shy.” But that’s no excuse, for we are not ashamed of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16) and if we pray and obey, the Holy Spirit makes us bold to preach and minister. (Acts 4:29-31)
What about the excuse that our spouse or parents can’t spare us or simply don’t want us to go, or that we feel an obligation to them? In Luke 9:57-62 Jesus had answers for those with such excuses: “Leave them, and follow and serve Me,” is, in essence, what He said. Though Jesus may order someone, as He did the demoniac He delivered, to, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you” (8:39), this does not justify remaining at home, preaching to the same family members for years. Jesus has commanded all of His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations… baptizing them… and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Mt. 28:19,20) No one is exempt from evangelizing and teaching others throughout the world. If God has called us to remain in one location, we need to be sure that we are ministering across that location, in person, and that we are also aiding those who go to the farthest parts of the earth. Jesus has ordered His followers to do this (same verses / Acts 1:8), so to know it and not obey it, is to commit sin. (Ja. 4:17)
Let’s remember that we are to obey God rather than humans, if they are trying to block us from obeying what we know God has commanded of us. (Acts 4:19) As Jesus taught, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife [or husband] and children, his brothers and sisters –yes, even his own life– he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26) How can it be any clearer? If we shrink back from following Jesus anywhere and everywhere He commands –if we refuse to give up all we have– we cannot be His disciple. (v. 27,33)
“But it’s too dangerous,” is another excuse. Yet didn’t we just read Luke 14:26? Jesus says there that we must hate even our own life, meaning in comparison with our love of doing the will of our Commander. As He taught, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” (9:24) His statement right before that was, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” If we want to be lukewarm about this, we will be spewed out of Christ’s mouth. (Rev. 3:14-16) Are we aware that the lukewarmness referred to here regards DEEDS?! (v. 15)
Truly, for those of us who blog, or hand out tracts, we, like any Christ-follower, must be engaging with people. We cannot write “from an ivory tower”, telling others what it looks like to live out Christ’s example if we are not open examples ourselves, modeling, for everyone possible, what that looks like. Christians and non-Christians must be able to see our lives up close –that we are genuinely Christ-like and are in obedience to His every command. In handing out tracts, we should never do it mechanically, but must listen kindly to people’s questions and beliefs, hug them, pray for them by name, be interested in them, be courteous and gracious, and be truly loving and concerned, helping them in practical ways as God guides us.
Those who preach God’s Word cannot resort to words only. We must back up our teachings by deeds that everyone can see. Not in a way so as to boast, like some ministers may do, but only that others may understand that we, like every Bible-believer should, are doing what we are exhorting others to do.
As Paul instructs in Phil. 4:9, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me –put it into practice.” Can all of us say this to everyone that hears us or watches us? It should be so, for the precise reason that we ourselves are doing the “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph. 2:10)