“But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power” (1 Corinthians 4:19,20).

IMPRESSIVE TALK ABOUT GOD IS NOT THE SAME THING AS ACTUAL LIFE IN HIM. Eloquent words about God may abound in some circles, and there is certainly no shortage today of profound discussion about the subject of spirituality. But our relationship with God is not determined by either the eloquence or the profundity of our talk. Not even the truthfulness of our words is enough, by itself, to guarantee a real relationship with God!

It is tempting to stay in the realm of talk and never venture out into the world of action. After all, it is easy and pleasant to talk about God. When we verbalize truths about God, we not only feel a sense of spiritual satisfaction ourselves, but others also come to think of us as being wise and spiritually mature. But if we talk about God in such a way that the true emptiness of our hearts is concealed, either from others or ourselves, we are doing something that is exceedingly dangerous. As the painful realities that could draw us toward a real relationship with God are buried beneath a blanket of fine religious words, we may discover that our own verbiage has become our greatest hindrance in moving toward God. Endlessly repeating the truth about Him will have become a substitute for dealing with the truth about ourselves.

We’re perhaps familiar with the biblical warnings against words-only religion. Paul, for example, warned about “idle talkers” (Titus 1:10), indicating that such people “profess to know God, but in works they deny Him” (Titus 1:16). And Jesus Himself spoke sternly on the subject: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:8). But are “idle talkers” just the professional imposters and the intentional hypocrites? Surely these texts have a wider application. They are a warning also to those of us who’ve slipped carelessly into the assumption that if our words are good, then that is all we need to be concerned about. Intentional or not, hypocrisy is a very serious matter. The soundness of our faith involves more than the sound of our words.

“All he has rests on his tongue. His religion is something to make a noise with” (John Bunyan).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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