Declaration

17 02 2012

The other day, I was watching “Bambi II,” and the interaction between Bambi and his dad got my attention.   Bambi’s dad, the Great Prince of the Forest, teaches his son how to act like a prince.  I believe lessons ab0ut the right mindset are lessons we as believers need to learn from our Abba Father.  Additionally, the movie led me to think of what our actions are saying about who we are and how we think.  In other words: What is our declaration?

The word declaration means an emphatic (i.e. strong) or an explicit (i.e. clear) statement.  When we make a declaration, we make a strong, clear statement.  Thinking of the Declaration of Independence, the colonists made sure the rest of the world knew that they were not under the rule of King George III, and the world took notice.  They fought a war against the king and gained the independence that they claimed.  That’s the funny thing about declarations: without action to back them up, they are meaningless.

From a faith perspective, saying and doing are also closely connected.  What we say and what we do matter.  Some people strongly and clearly say what their beliefs are, but their actions say something else entirely.  I usually encounter this when I tell my oldest son I love him, and then two minutes later, I express impatience when he’s simply being a boy (energetic, doing kung fu moves to fill up his glass with water, practicing high kicks while brushing his teeth, you know those “normal” things).  My words said I love you, but actions said you have to change for me to love you. Without matching deeds, my words are empty to my son.

In Jeremiah 7, there is a warning against empty words.  Starting in verse 3, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ 5 For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if truly practice justice between man and his neighbor, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. 8 Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail. 9 Will you steal, murder, and commit adultry and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known, 10 then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’ -that you may do all these abominations?  11 Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight?’ The Israelites lived how they wanted until they went to synagogue then they acted holy. The simple message of these verses? Change your behavior to match your speech.

Some people believe that their actions speak loud enough, but without words, their declaration is incomplete.  They are acting out their faith, but they are not saying why.  There are many reasons for this.  One, they are fed up (understandably) with those whose speech doesn’t match their deeds, so they try to avoid hypocrisy all together by remaining silent.  Another reason is that they believe by saying anything they are robbing God of His glory.  I think the opposite is true, good works done in His name bring Him glory.  By keeping silent on the reasons for their actions, these well-intentioned people miss an opportunity to share their stories for His glory.

Looking at declaration in the Greek, it comes from diegesis meaning narrative which comes from diegeomai meaning to recount, relate in full, describe.  Using the first word, our entire lives tell the story of what we believe.  As a matter of fact, story is one of the best ways to communicate ideas.  Without a narrative that clearly depicts it, the truth becomes a fact that can enter the head but might miss the heart.  And really, entering the heart is most important.  The second word, diegeomai, indicates that our testimonies should complete.

The truth about our declarations is with or without intentional effort, or lives (in deed and word) tell our story to the world.  If you are going about quietly doing good but never talking about it, start telling your story.  On the other hand, if you, like me, are constantly running your mouth, but never doing good, start acting your story.  On either account, whether speaking or doing more, Father God gets more glory.

Remember with me Colossians 3:17  “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Your life declares something, What is it declaring?

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