11 May Faith on Fire: Embracing a Life of Gospel-Fueled Action
In our spiritual journey, we often find ourselves at a crossroads, where we must choose between merely hearing God’s Word and actively living it out. This choice has a profound impact on our faith and our experience of God’s fruitfulness in our lives. Throughout this article, we will explore the significance of being both hearers and doers of the Word and the blessings that come from embracing faithfulness and obedience.
The Deception of Being Mere Hearers
In our fast-paced world, we are constantly bombarded with information and messages from various sources. It’s easy to get caught up in the act of merely consuming this content, including sermons, Bible studies, and devotionals, without ever taking the time to truly internalize and apply what we’ve learned. Spiritual growth, however, is not about accumulating knowledge, but rather transforming our lives based on that knowledge. As Charles Spurgeon passionately warned, “To hear the Word and not to do it is to incur the most serious peril.”
The story of Mary and Martha in the Bible (Luke 10:38-42) serves as a reminder of the importance of prioritizing the Word of God in our lives. While Martha was consumed with serving and hosting, Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to His teachings. Jesus commended Mary for choosing the better part, emphasizing the value of being attentive to His words. However, the ultimate goal is not only to listen but also to live out those teachings in our everyday lives.
When we merely hear the Word without taking action, we risk becoming like the man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after going away, immediately forgets what he looks like (James 1:23-24). This forgetfulness illustrates a shallow understanding of God’s Word, which can lead to spiritual stagnation and fruitlessness. If we consider the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23), we see that only the seed that fell on good soil produced a harvest. Similarly, when we genuinely internalize and act upon God’s Word, our lives bear fruit.
In today’s world of social media, it’s easy to fall into the trap of passively consuming content and engaging in superficial conversations about faith. But Spurgeon challenges us to move beyond this surface-level engagement, urging believers to actively live out their faith. He said, “The best sermon is a practiced truth, and the hearer of the Word should be like the performer of it, for this is the true way of honoring God by our hearing.”
To break free from the deception of being mere hearers, we must intentionally evaluate our lives and assess whether we are genuinely putting the teachings of Scripture into practice. Are we forgiving others as Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:32)? Are we seeking justice and mercy for the oppressed (Micah 6:8)? Are we loving our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31)?
By constantly reflecting on these questions and others, we can ensure that our hearing of God’s Word leads to genuine transformation and fruitfulness, allowing us to experience the fullness of life that Jesus promised (John 10:10).
Experiencing the Transformative Power of God’s Word through Action
In a world full of distractions and competing priorities, it’s easy to lose sight of the life-changing impact that God’s Word can have on our lives. To truly experience the transformative power of Scripture, we must go beyond merely acquiring knowledge and actively apply it to our daily lives. As Charles Spurgeon passionately declared, “The Gospel is not sent to merely amuse men or to be the subject of controversy; it is sent with an earnest practical purpose.”
One way to foster this active application is through intentional self-examination. After hearing a sermon or reading a passage from Scripture, make it a habit to pause and reflect on the message, asking yourself, “What is God teaching me through this message, and how can I apply it to my life?” This reflective process helps us identify specific areas where we need to grow or change, and it encourages us to seek God’s guidance in making those changes.
For example, if you hear a sermon about the importance of forgiveness, take time to consider any unresolved conflicts or lingering bitterness in your own life. Ask God to reveal any areas where you need to extend forgiveness, and then take practical steps to reconcile with those whom you have wronged or who have wronged you.
Another key aspect of putting faith into action is cultivating a heart that is willing to submit to God’s authority. As Spurgeon wisely observed, “The heart is the main thing in true religion. The head is not the most important. The heart is the great thing; for with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the heart confession is made unto salvation.”
In our modern age, we might be tempted to focus on intellectual pursuits and debates about faith, but Spurgeon reminds us that true transformation comes from a heart surrendered to God. To cultivate such a heart, we can engage in spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, and regular Bible study. These practices help to deepen our relationship with God and align our desires with His will.
As we actively apply God’s Word to our lives and cultivate a heart that is willing to submit to His authority, we will experience the life-changing power of Scripture. Our faith will be strengthened, our character refined, and our relationships enriched. Ultimately, by putting our faith into action, we will fulfill the practical purpose of the Gospel and bear witness to its transformative power in a world that desperately needs hope and healing.
The Blessings of Obedience: Reaping the Fruit of Faithful Living
Embracing the call to be doers of the Word not only deepens our relationship with God but also unlocks the blessings of obedience in our personal growth and relationships with others. In his passionate and eloquent style, Charles Spurgeon reminded us, “There is no reward from God to those who are not obedient, but every blessing to those who are.”
Jesus emphasized the importance of bearing fruit as evidence of our discipleship: “By this, my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8, ESV). As we actively live out our faith, we become living testimonies of the transformative power of God’s Word, shining like stars in a dark world and bearing witness to the hope and healing that can only be found in Christ.
The blessings of obedience extend beyond our individual lives, impacting our families, communities, and even the world. Consider the story of a young woman who felt called to serve in a local food pantry. Initially, she was hesitant, unsure of her ability to make a difference. However, as she obeyed God’s prompting and stepped out in faith, she found that her obedience not only blessed those she served but also inspired others to join her in serving their community. Through her faithful actions, she became a catalyst for change, demonstrating the ripple effect that can occur when we choose to be doers of the Word.
Another powerful opportunity for transformation lies within our own growth group ministry. As we come together to study the Word, pray, and put our faith into action, we can make a tangible difference in our neighborhoods. Let us begin by praying that God would help us identify needs in our communities and equip us to meet those needs effectively. Through our growth groups, we can challenge one another to take the teachings of Scripture and actively apply them, resulting in personal growth, stronger relationships, and a more profound impact on our communities. By working together within our growth group ministry, we have the potential to see lives transformed as we serve as shining examples of Christ’s love in action.
Ultimately, by choosing to be doers of the Word, we participate in God’s work of transforming lives and expanding His kingdom. As Spurgeon once said, “Obedience to God is the most infallible evidence of sincere and supreme love to Him.” When we commit to being doers of the Word, we not only experience the blessings of obedience in our own lives but also become vessels through which God’s love, grace, and truth can flow to a world in desperate need of His healing touch.
The Role of Genuine Faith in Producing Doers of the Word: Faith in Action
A vital aspect of the Christian life is the connection between faith and action. Genuine faith naturally produces works, as demonstrated by the Apostle James when he wrote, “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17, ESV). A living faith is not merely an intellectual acceptance of certain doctrines; it is a dynamic force that compels us to live in accordance with God’s will.
As Spurgeon might have expressed in a modern context, true faith and genuine works go hand in hand. Those who genuinely trust God will seek to obey His commands, and those who truly obey God demonstrate their trust in Him. A life devoid of works is indicative of a faith that is absent or lifeless.
When we embrace a faith that is rooted in a relationship with Christ and a deep love for His Word, we are empowered to become doers of the Word. Our actions serve as evidence of the transformative power of a living faith, demonstrating that we have truly been changed by the Gospel.
For instance, consider a young entrepreneur who, after coming to faith in Christ, recognizes the importance of generosity and stewardship. Driven by his newfound faith, he decides to use a portion of his profits to provide essential resources to a pregnancy care center. His contributions help expecting mothers receive vital care and support during a critical time in their lives, empowering them to make life-affirming choices. Moreover, his generosity has a generational impact as children who might have otherwise faced a bleak future are instead loved, cared for, and given the opportunity to thrive in a supportive environment.
Similarly, a mother who encounters Christ’s love and forgiveness might be inspired to extend grace and compassion to her children, creating an environment of understanding and growth. Her actions, born out of her living faith, not only impact her family but also serve as a witness to others of the transformative power of a relationship with Christ.
In both of these examples, genuine faith serves as the driving force behind actions that make a difference in the lives of others. When we embrace a faith that is rooted in Christ and His Word, we are compelled to become doers of the Word, living testimonies to the transformative power of the Gospel.
Overcoming Obstacles to Becoming Doers of the Word: Standing Firm Amidst Trials
As we strive to be doers of the Word, we will inevitably encounter obstacles that challenge our obedience. These barriers may include the temptations of the world, the desires of our flesh, and the schemes of the devil. In the face of these challenges, we must rely on God’s strength and grace to overcome them, fueled by a passionate desire to live out our faith.
Prayer is a powerful tool in overcoming obstacles. Through prayer, we can seek God’s guidance, ask for the Holy Spirit’s help, and request strength to persevere in our pursuit of obedience. For example, consider a young professional faced with the temptation to compromise their integrity for career advancement. In moments like these, prayer becomes a lifeline, allowing them to draw strength from God to resist temptation and stay true to their faith.
Additionally, surrounding ourselves with a supportive community of believers can provide encouragement and accountability to help us stay committed to living out our faith. By actively participating in growth groups, we can share our struggles, learn from others’ experiences, and receive the support we need to overcome the obstacles we face.
Imagine a single parent struggling to balance work, family, and spiritual growth. By connecting with others in a growth group, they can receive practical advice, emotional support, and spiritual encouragement to help them prioritize their faith amidst the challenges of daily life.
When we face the trials and temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, we can overcome them through the power of the Spirit and the support of our community. As we walk together in fellowship and accountability, we grow stronger in our commitment to becoming doers of the Word, allowing our lives to bear witness to the transformative power of the Gospel.
Living as Doers of the Word in Our Everyday Lives: A Gospel-Centered Approach
Becoming doers of the Word is a lifelong journey that involves practical application in various life situations. It is essential to remember that our actions should be birthed out of a response to the gospel, and every opportunity to serve others should be used as an opportunity to share the good news of what God has done for them. St. Francis of Assisi is often quoted as saying, “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” While the sentiment behind this quote is admirable, we must not forget that the gospel is, in fact, good news – news that must be shared, delivered, and communicated through words.
God cares about our temporal needs, but He cares much more about our eternal need. Therefore, as we strive to be doers of the Word, we should always keep the gospel at the center of our actions. Here are a few examples of how we can live as doers of the Word in our everyday lives, while also prioritizing the sharing of the gospel message:
In our relationships: Practice forgiveness, kindness, and humility, putting others’ needs before our own (Philippians 2:3-4). As we do so, look for opportunities to share the message of God’s love and forgiveness with those around us.
At work: Demonstrate integrity, diligence, and a positive attitude, remembering that we are ultimately working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24). Use your workplace as a mission field, building relationships with colleagues and being ready to share the hope that you have in Christ.
In our communities: Reach out to those in need, sharing the love of Christ through acts of service and compassion (Matthew 25:34-40). As we engage in what the world calls “social justice,” we must not lose sight of the ultimate goal – to point people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. By meeting their physical needs, we can build bridges of trust that open doors to share the gospel and address their spiritual needs.
By consistently applying these principles and others, we demonstrate our commitment to being doers of the Word, shining as lights in a dark world, and bearing witness to the transformative power of God’s grace. As we live out our faith, let us always prioritize sharing the good news of the gospel, ensuring that our actions and words work together to point others to Jesus Christ.
Conclusion: The Call to Be Doers of the Word
Embracing the challenge to be both hearers and doers of the Word is a lifelong pursuit that requires intentionality, perseverance, and reliance on God’s grace. As we commit to faithfully living out God’s Word, we experience the blessings of obedience, the fruitfulness of a life transformed by the Gospel, and the joy of participating in God’s work of redemption.
May we all strive to be doers of the Word, not merely hearers, and experience the fullness of God’s purpose and plan for our lives. As Charles Spurgeon said, “A Christian is not merely to hear sermons as a duty; he is to hear them that he may put them into practice.” Let us be people who actively live out our faith, demonstrating the transformative power of God’s Word in every aspect of our lives.
Sermon & Sandwiches
Discussing a sermon after it has been delivered can be a valuable practice. It allows for deeper reflection on the themes and teachings, and can help to internalize the message more effectively. Here are some conversation starters that could help spark a meaningful discussion:
- “Were there any specific points or quotes from the sermon that particularly stuck with you? Why do you think they made an impact?”
- “How can we apply the teachings from today’s sermon in our daily lives? Are there any actionable steps we can take?”
- “Did the sermon challenge any of your pre-existing beliefs or perspectives? If so, how does it make you feel?”
- “How does the message from today’s sermon align with the teachings from previous sermons? Can you see any ongoing themes or lessons?”
- “In what ways do you think the sermon’s teachings could positively influence our community or society at large?”
- “Were there aspects of the sermon that connected to current events or societal issues? How do these connections make the message more relevant to us?”
- “How can we support each other in implementing the teachings from the sermon in our daily life?”
The Daily Devotion
Monday: The Deception of Being Mere Hearers
Read: James 1:22-25, Luke 10:38-42
Reflection: Reflect on the difference between hearing God’s Word and doing God’s Word. How can you transition from being a mere hearer to becoming a doer? Journal about any personal insights or convictions that arise from these passages.
Tuesday: Experiencing the Transformative Power of God’s Word through Action
Read: Romans 12:1-2, Joshua 1:8
Reflection: Consider how God’s Word has the power to transform your life. What specific actions can you take to apply the teachings of the Scripture in your daily life? Write down one or two specific steps you can take this week to apply the Word in your life.
Wednesday: The Blessings of Obedience: Reaping the Fruit of Faithful Living
Read: John 15:1-8, Ephesians 5:8-10
Reflection: Reflect on the blessings and fruit that come from obeying God’s Word. How has obedience to God’s Word brought blessings in your life? How can you bear more fruit in your life? Write a prayer asking God to help you bear more fruit in your life.
Thursday: The Role of Genuine Faith in Producing Doers of the Word: Faith in Action
Read: James 2:14-26
Reflection: Reflect on the connection between faith and action. How does your faith inspire you to act? How can you strengthen your faith to become more of a doer of the Word? Write a commitment about one way you will put your faith into action this week.
Friday: Overcoming Obstacles to Becoming Doers of the Word: Standing Firm Amidst Trials
Read: 1 Corinthians 10:13, Ephesians 6:10-18
Reflection: Reflect on the obstacles and trials that can hinder you from being a doer of the Word. How can you overcome these obstacles? Write down a plan on how you will stand firm in your faith amidst trials, and how you will overcome obstacles to becoming a doer of the Word.
Being a Doer, Not Just a Hearer of God’s Word
Begin by explaining the main concept in simple terms: “Just like when we learn something at school, it’s not enough to just listen to what the teacher says. We need to do our homework, practice, and use what we learn. This is the same thing God wants us to do with His teachings.”
Ask your child if they can remember a time when they heard or learned something, but didn’t apply it right away. Maybe it was a safety rule, or a new skill they learned. How did it feel when they finally used that knowledge?
Now, explain that in the same way, when we learn something from the Bible or during Sunday School, God wants us to put it into practice in our daily lives. It’s not enough to just listen; we need to act on what we learn.
- Can you remember a story from the Bible where someone had to do something, not just hear something? (Example: Noah building the ark.)
- How do you think we can be “doers” of what we learn from God?
- Can you think of a time when you were a “doer” of something you learned from the Bible?
To make this concept more tangible, engage your child in an activity that requires action after hearing instructions. You could play a game of “Simon Says,” or do a cooking activity where you read the recipe, and then together you do each step.
At the end, reflect on the activity. How would it have been different if you’d just listened to the instructions, but not done anything? Reinforce the idea that just like in the game or the cooking activity, when we read or hear God’s Word, we should be “doers,” not just “hearers.”
Remember, these concepts may take time to fully grasp. Be patient, and repeat these discussions as necessary, using different examples and activities to reinforce the understanding.