1 John 4:11-12
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
People want to see God. They want to reach out and touch him to know that he is real. I confess, being a follower would be much easier if I could schedule an hour in the physical presence of God every day. It was difficult to believe that God was real for a good portion of my life. God was an Our Father and three Hail Mary's. God was a B in Religion class. God was an old Irish woman who taught math and who could make you feel as small as an ant if she was angry with you. God was having to sit through a boring Mass every Thursday morning.
God was anything but real for me. He was buried in tradition and ritual.
Fortunately, God believed in me even when I didn't believe in him. He pursued me, found me, and began to reveal himself to me. Now, I see God in the heart of my wife, in the imagination of my son, in the beauty of downtown St. Pete, and on the faces of my Radius family (to name a few).
But knowing that God exists is just the start. Once we've experienced his love, then it is our responsibility to do something with it.
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
I think what James is saying here is, "Get out and do something!"
We tend to hide our faith behind this idea that it is a very personal thing. Yeah, it's personal, but it isn't private. People are looking for evidence of God's love for us. If we as believers aren't out there being the tangible evidence of that love, then we are failing, and people will never come to know our creator as we do. If our faith is reserved for Sunday mornings, then we confine God to church buildings and sanctuaries. And while we need God in those places so that we can have that focused time with him as a body, we need him even more out on the streets of St. Pete. We need him in our neighborhoods. We need him in our businesses and places of work. We need him to permeate every aspect of our lives so that those who are seeking him will find him.
Can God do this without you?
But why not be a part of something bigger than yourself? Why not be a part of the victory story that we will one day come to know?
I urge you then to start looking for ways to be that tangible evidence of Jesus' love in St. Pete.
Gather with us this Sunday as Blake casts a vision for the direction Radius is heading. Who knows, you just might find your opportunity to be a part of the victory story. In the mean time, check out Blake's thoughts on deeds from this past Sunday here.