“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” Luke 24:5-6 (NKJV)
This is a great time of year to measure whether your words and actions are aligned with your beliefs. We stand on the Scripture in Hebrews 11:1 – “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” To achieve the vision, we must first believe.
Every great act starts with a thought. Proverbs 23:7 teaches that as a man thinks, then so is he. Our thoughts are like the acorn that, when planted in the right environment, will grow into a mighty oak tree. Growing up we used to mimic each other on the playground with the song, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.’ I believed that no matter what anyone said, there was no harm being done. As I got older, however, I learned that this was untrue.
The Bible teaches that words are powerful. In Genesis, we learn that God spoke and things came into being. In the book of Mark, Jesus spoke and the very elements stood still. In Matthew, He spoke, and demonic spirits took flight and the fig tree shrivelled to its demise. The things we see, hear and experience create a library of concepts that are used to shape our thoughts, which drive our speech, our behaviour and determine our results. Proverbs 18:21 teaches that we have the power of life and death in our tongue. To operate in faith, we must speak beyond what we see.
One of the scriptural examples of stepping out in faith can be found in Matthew 14:22-23, when Peter stepped out of the boat in the midst of a storm, and walked on water towards Jesus. It’s an amazing thought: if he can do it, then so can I. Like Peter, it is easy for many of us to exercise what I refer to as ‘second-generation faith’, where we are only required to muster up enough courage to follow something seen.
Leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples that after three days He would rise from the dead. We read in Luke 24 that immediately after the Sabbath, the women – Mary Magdalene, Johanna, Mary the mother of James and a few other women – went to Jesus’ tomb with spices to continue the burial rituals in line with the Jewish custom. Upon arriving at the tomb, they were surprised to be greeted by two angels where Jesus’ body once laid. The angels turned to the women and asked: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” Luke 24:5-6 (NKJV). For these women, there was no blueprint to follow. They found themselves in a live test environment that required them to draw from what they had previously heard and experienced, in order to respond to a new series of events that would create one of the greatest paradigm shifts known to man.
Abraham Lincoln once said: “Actions speaks louder than words.” The women coming to the tomb with spices demonstrated they did not expect to find a resurrected Jesus. If they were hoping to find Jesus alive, they would have walked with items to present to a living Jesus – rather than the spices to dress His corpse.
Our actions are the telltale of what we truly believe. Hoping and declaring for things to shift is one piece of the faith puzzle. As James 22:14 teaches, faith also requires action. Our words and actions must align with our beliefs. God is not slack concerning His promises (2 Peter 3:9) so, as you continue through 2020, expect God to keep His Word. He is risen!
M. Jasmyn Allen
Founder of SOIL: Step Out In Leadership
Author of SOIL: Step Out in Leadership Vision
Journal (ISBN: 9780368063404)