THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
Those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God (v.11).
Two siblings went down truly divergent paths. One turned his back on Jesus and eventually spent years in prison. The other lived out the grace and love of God, compassionately caring for family, those inside the body of Christ, and those on the outside. Two lives marked by actions that spoke loudly.
The apostle John penned a letter that revealed the differing actions of two men within the early church. His words show that our actions do indeed speak louder than our words. John first wrote of a man named Diotrephes who’d shown himself to be proud, selfish, and unwilling to submit to apostolic authority (v.9). He was on a power trip that included forcing people who wouldn’t follow him out of the church (v.10)—the antithesis of what it means to live and lead in love (1 John 3:10-14).
Demetrius, however, was evidently such a caring, Christ-honoring leader that “everyone [spoke] highly of [him].” His life seemed to so match the truth of the gospel that “the truth itself” witnessed to his character (v.12).
Our actions speak not only of our character, but also of the One we serve. Jesus said, “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16). And Paul wrote, “Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).
We can’t live like Demetrius in our own strength. Only by submitting to Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit can we do what’s loving and right in this world—living out actions that honor Jesus.
The man I mentioned earlier has done just that. He’s now out of prison and compassionately extending God’s love to others. May our actions also speak of the grace and love of Jesus. —Tom Felten
Read Proverbs 4:23-27 and consider the practical wisdom it contains for honoring God with your actions.
What do your actions reveal about your character? Your love for God? What might God be leading you to change through His power?