James 2:14-17 14 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? 15 For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved 16 and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup – where does that get you? 17 Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
Harry Houdini, the famed escape artist issued a challenge wherever he went. He could be locked in any jail cell in the country, he claimed, and set himself free quickly and easily. Always he kept his promise, but one time something went wrong. Houdini entered the jail in his street clothes; the heavy, metal doors clanged shut behind him. He took from his belt a concealed piece of metal, strong and flexible. He set to work immediately, but something seemed to be unusual about this lock. For 30 minutes he worked and got nowhere. An hour passed, and still he had not opened the door. By now he was bathed in sweat and panting in exasperation, but he still could not pick the lock. Finally, after laboring for 2 hours, Harry Houdini collapsed in frustration and failure against the door he could not unlock. But when he fell against the door, it swung open! It had never been locked at all! But in his mind it was locked and that was all it took to keep him from opening the door and walking out of the jail cell.
It seems at times that the most secure cell for us as Christians is living in the cell of words. We say one thing, knowing we will do another or not follow through with what we say at all and it frustrates us. We complain about things that we ourselves would never be willing to help change. One by one our words trap us into a cell of overuse. We say more than we should and write checks with our words that we can’t cash with real action. In other words, talk is cheap. That’s why when a person gives you their WORD it really doesn’t mean much anymore. Our word or words don’t have value and one of the devaluing elements is a lack of action that matches our words. Through the years I have had one person after the other say one thing and not do it, or do the opposite with no penalty, no remorse, no change. Early in my life I would just mark it up to experience and say, “well, I hope I never do that to someone!” Of course, through the years I have done that. You know, said one thing and not followed through. It’s frustrating and really sets us back when it comes to serving the Lord. It’s like there is a ditch that gets wider and wider between us and serving God, and it keeps us from saying anything for the fear of not being able to produce action. But just because we mess up from time to time doesn’t mean we should put ourselves in a prison of guilt and mediocrity. God’s grace is complete and when we turn to Him, all the past is gone. The only thing we forget is when we turn to Him and experience His grace, we turn the other way and He has “walking shoes” waiting for us. Walking shoes that challenge us to walk the talk.
It’s time to get out of the prison of past words and promises made to God and let your faith do your talking by really “walking the walk.” DEF: Do something!! Get active and see your life jump into an excited frenzy from the injection of real faith. A person who commits to this kind of lifestyle can impact the kingdom in an awesome way and then it becomes contagious.
Here is the key to get you out of the prison. There is no key!! Like Harry Houdini’s story, the door is open. You may be trying every way in the world to pick the lock, but it is already open because of what Christ did to make you right. Open the door and commit your faith to works and your talk to walk. Remember verse 17 and the “in your face translation” Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense. The Christian walk is not meant to be nonsense, so get out of your word prison and begin to live what you believe.
The Pilgrimage continues….