My daughter ran into our bedroom this morning as I was getting ready to head to the church and she grabbed ahold of me and gave me a huge hug. A little surprised, I asked her what she was doing. “I just wanted to give you a hug,” she answered as she sprinted out of the room. Quick? Yes. Odd? Maybe. Amazing? Absolutely!
For some reason (I am sure it was because of my pure awesomeness) she just had to run in there and express her love for me. It is a pretty cool feeling as a dad and one that makes me think about what we read in James 2:21-26.
This passage references a story that took place many years before. To get to the point, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son. Let me pause for a second and help you understand the magnitude of this. He told Abraham to kill his son. That, my friends, is a bold move. And for a moment we begin to think that God has succumb to the stress of being God because this seems like a strange and disturbed request.
But, long story short, Abraham prepared the sacrifice (his son) and at the last moment, God stopped him and provided a ram to be sacrificed instead. Again, it all seems crazy until we begin to understand what God was really up to.
God was testing Abraham’s relationship with Him. How far would Abraham go? What would Abraham give up for God? I am sure Abraham said numerous times to God in prayer that he would give everything up for God and that his relationship with God was the most important thing in the world. You may have said similar things before.
But God knew what we often forget. It is one thing to say we love God. It is another to prove it with our actions. Here is how James describes it:
What about Abraham, our father? Wasn’t he shown to be righteous through his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? See, his faith was at work along with his actions. In fact, his faith was made complete by his faithful actions. So the scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and God regarded him as righteous. What is more, Abraham was called God’s friend. So you see that a person is shown to be righteous through faithful actions and not through faith alone. In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute shown to be righteous when she received the messengers as her guests and then sent them on by another road? As the lifeless body is dead, so faith without actions is dead. – James 2:21-26
Abraham was counted as righteous and called friend by God…not because he said he loved God…but because he lived in a way that proved it.
Maggie could have very easily told me she loved me. She does it all the time…she could have done it again. But this morning, it was not enough. She had to show me in a way that could not be expressed with words. She ran to me and embraced me (much like Pastor Chris discussed on Sunday morning).
I am curious, how do you express your love for God? Is it one you merely speak of? Or can we tell you love God by the way you live your life? Are you running to your God with open arms simply to express your love for Him?