By: Amy Dalke
Have you ever given much thought to how your biography would read?
What if you were approached by a renowned biographical author, who requested the rights to put your story in print?
I don’t know about you, but I might immediately make a mental list of the parts I would not want my grandmother or my pastor to read. And you can bet I would make sure final editing rights were included in my contract. Because it’s my biography for crying out loud, so I want the readers to have a good impression.
Truth be told, I have daydreamed about what my life would look like across the crispy pages in a hardback book. Mind you, the posts that garner the highest activity on my Facebook wall are about failed cooking incidents. Sooo…it’s probably safe to say my life won’t read quite like the exciting cover story on the latest issue of People magazine.
Why are we even talking about this, anyway?
Because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my faith looks like in real life. I’m in a bible study covering the book of James; and in five short chapters, James makes it clear that we can talk about faith all we want, but it’s worthless unless our actions are backing it up.
In other words, my seat on the third row at church on Sunday mornings means nothing if it doesn’t make a difference in who I am on Tuesdays.
Real faith will show up in real life. Real faith isn’t about keeping rules; rather, it’s about living a life of love.
(Which, lame, I know. Sounds classic for a blog post during the week of Valentine’s Day.)
But James isn’t talking about the loving feeling of affection that drives the floral prices through the roof this time of year. He’s talking about the kind of love that God demonstrated across the pages of the Holy Scriptures. The kind that outlasts, overcomes, conquers all, and goes far beyond the hard weather of emotion.
The kind of love that changes you.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
If you and I believe that God is who he says he is, and that we are who God says we are, then his love will be the driving force of our everyday lives.
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who died for their sake and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
I can talk all day long about what I believe, and about how God is love and all that. But really, you won’t believe me until I act like it.
My life story may never be published on pages bound together in a book cover displayed on the shelves of Barnes & Noble. But my biography is being written every single day across the lives of the people with whom I interact. Just as it’s true for my life, your own life is illustrated across the hearts of your family members, co-workers, friends, neighbors, and even acquaintances.
“…love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39b)
What do their lives say about you? Do you play a strong supporting role, or do you stir the pot of antagonistic drama? Do you truly love your neighbor? Or do you just show up when you feel like it? (Yikes. Sometimes I think James needs to mind his own business.)
But it’s true, right? There’s really no such thing as inactive faith. Jesus either changes your story, or he doesn’t.
So…about that biography…if you’re reading this, you still have time to edit.