There is no such thing as a mature Christian who does not actively love in tangible ways. I’ve known older Christians who carried big Bibles who were full of knowledge, but were sour, legalistic and selfish. But they weren’t mature Christians. And the faith that they claimed to have was not real, Biblical, Jesus-pleasing kind of faith.
Here’s what Paul wrote in Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus… the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (NIV).
Jesus-loving kind-of-faith is a faith that expresses itself the way Jesus would, with active love that is tangibly visible.
I saw this illustrated in such big ways early in my exposure to Biblical Christianity that it not only attracted me to a genuine relationship with God, like what I saw in others, it also demonstrated for me what that kind of faith looks like.
I think of just one man, who was in reality, one of many in that little church that changed my life. This man’s name was Wayne Waas. We were world’s apart in every way. He was an old man, in his upper 70s (which was ancient to me as a 17 year-old). He wasn’t into any of the things I cared about, not sports, not hunting or fishing, certainly not girls. But the man cared about me and reached out to me. Every Sunday he’d come up to me and talk to me, asking me questions about my life and world. He’d share Scripture verses and pray for me, right there in the church lobby. At first it felt weird, but that man taught me how to pray, and I began to look up the Scriptures he gave. One time, when the pastor was out of town, he spoke. It was really boring, but because I knew something of this man’s life and how close he was to God, I was eager to listen anyway.
Here I was, a 17-year-old long-haired rebellious kid, who looked out of place in that conservative Baptist church, and this old deacon went out of his way to care about me. When I went though a major crisis, he was the guy I called, because I knew that I mattered to him, and he was obviously a man of deep faith.
How did I know? By his love. That’s what Paul was saying in Galatians 5:6. It’s also what Jesus was talking about when he told his close followers, “The world will know you are my disciples by your love.”
What kind of faith do you have? Is it a faith that expresses itself daily in active and tangible love? Because according to Scripture, when it comes to demonstrating our connection with God, that’s really the only thing that matters: “…the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6 NIV).