“If you are going to run your mouth, you better be able to back it up” Have you ever heard someone say that to some one else, or possibly even you?
In a recent trip I got to visit with a founder and leader of a large organization. There were several of us gathered to meet with, speak to , and simple hangout with this particular leader. During our various conversations he had stated in so many words, if you are going to be serious about your passion, and purpose while being bold and confident, you better be able to back it up. He further eluded to the potential or experience of a physical altercation if necessary.
Thinking about this, our other conversations, and my journey in my personal faith, these words have as much physical meaning as it does a spiritual sense. These three simple words may be much more profound than some realize.
In short how do you back up what you believe and what you say?
In the bible we read that Peter was confident of his faith and belief in Jesus. He told him several times to even the point that he would die for him. However, we also read Peter denied Christ three times before for the rooster crowed. Upon Christ resurrection he then asked Peter not just once if He loved him, he did it three times in a row. I believe it was to empathize and drive home a point. Christ response each time was to feed His sheep. In other word’s to teach, love, serve, minister and lead people to His message unto the Heavenly Father.
Words can be amazing in how they are used, and empathized. I have often been amazed on how encouraging, energetic, and inspiring certain speakers can be. However, it is most often true, talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words. Jesus was saying to His Disciples if they love Him, to feed His sheep, obey His commandments and to serve and love one another. I believe Christ was wanting to see their actions, not words, from them, and us as believers to live out our faith. I believe Christ wanted His followers to “back it up”. To back up their words with actions and deeds. And inevitably most of them did to painful persecution and death. Now that is backing it up.
Why does it seem integrity is a lost value today?
Unfortunately I have lost count of how many times I have been lied to, deceived, and down right betrayed not just from acquaintances, but those close to me, and other loved ones. It mattered not if it were family, neighbor, business partner, or church member. In addition, with the divorce rate in the range of around 53% in the first five years, it seems promises to the point of public confirmation, a covenant unto God, and written form is not taken in very high regard. I am not sure when a newlywed said for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, really meant until I get bored, find someone better, healthier, or more wealthy? It seems the words, promises, and commitment seemed to mean nothing later to that percentage.
Those who back it up, do not have to say it, they do it
I remember training in Karate at a young age. I spent many hours not only in the dojo, but at home training. I was passionate about this art. Eventually I became this dojos best competitors and teachers. It was not easy, it took a lot of hard work, discipline, bruises, sore muscles, commitment, learning humility, refining techniques and learning from my errors. However, I never spoke much of my training to others. In fact, I am pretty sure there were very few in my high school that even knew I trained. The only time someone would find out, is if I needed or was required to defend myself or a loved one. Those that typically can back it up whether physically or spiritually do not have to announce it, or talk much about it, but when it comes to needing to demonstrate it, they demonstrate it well.
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?”
I like so many books in the bible, and no matter how long I have been a believer, accepted Christ as my savior, and read the bible, I seem to still gain something new, a deeper perspective or different view when I read the bible. That may be why they call the bible, “The Living Word”, sometimes. Regardless of the many books of the bible I read, the book of James is among my favorite. Believers often realize works in not the way to God, or salvation as there is not enough works, or good deeds you can do to earn your way into heaven. Christ had to pay the ultimate price for the forgiveness of sins so we have way unto the Heavenly Father. However, the demonstration of that faith, the new life a believer now strives to live is demonstrated by not only their words, but more importantly their actions and faith. Christ was asking His followers to demonstrate their love for Him and the Heavenly Father by going to all the world and making disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Teaching them all that He taught, and commanded. To love one another with brotherly love. James emphasize the importance of backing up your faith in these verses:
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” — and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead”
You see although our actions and deeds will not save us, it is however the demonstration of our faith. It is a demonstration of our commitment to our faith, and a testimony unto God and His Son, Jesus Christ, what He taught, how He loved, how He served, how He led, and what He did for each of us. It is us backing it up. Backing up what we say, what we claim, and what we believe.
Some say I may have gotten a bit cynical in my five decades on this earth. They say maybe it was caused by some things that happened in my youth, near death experiences, betrayal, being double crossed by those I trusted, or divorce… That could be a possibility, however I see it more that I no longer necessarily listen to mere words of others, I closely more observe their actions and behaviors. Some may say my very close inner circle may be extremely small as I may have “trust issues”, or I may be “too harsh on some”, or “don’t let people in”, however I see it as my inner circles are often reserved for people who hold integrity of high regard. Those who do not just talk, they walk their talk. People who are authentic, real and not fake. Those that know they do not have to tell me they love me often, as they show it, often. Those that hold to old school values, or what could be called Bushido in very high regard and live them out.
So the investment of time with this leader over the weekend, what I feel he was trying to communicate, and what I personally believe as well; If you say you are going to do so something, then do it. If you say you are going to be somewhere, be there. If you say you love some one, prove and show it. If you make a promise, a proclamation, put on a representation, whether a patch, or a cross, then make your actions, deeds, and life show it, even if you have to stand alone, or even if you may possibly have to risk your life. Back it up!