When I was a kid, my dad refused to let us put bumper stickers on the car. I always wanted one of those cool Christian ones, so we could tell the whole world that we were “down with Jesus.”
But now that I’m an adult, I kind of seeing things Dad’s way. First, I hate having to scrape off that nasty bumper-sticker residue. And secondly, I learned from Dad that having a faith of action—being a doer and not just a talker—is far better.
I’m not saying bumper stickers or t-shirts or WWJD bracelets aren’t cool and don’t have a place in our world. But if that’s the extent of your faith, of my faith, then we’ve missed something along the way.
Lately we’ve been studying the book of James in our church. I’m humbled and convicted by his words. He calls out Christians who talk a big game, but whose lives don’t show the radical transformation demanded by the gospel. He says this kind of faith is worthless.
When you come to Christ in faith, you come empty, with no works that can satisfy God’s exalted standard of righteousness. And you come as you are, broken, needy, sinful. But God doesn’t want to keep you that way. And He has given you His Spirit to work inside of you, chipping away at the sin patterns and revealing more of Jesus. He does this by sending difficult trials and He does this with His Word.
This is why knowing and loving your Bible is so important. Not so you can be Bible trivia champion or sword drill master or reach the highest levels of Awana (all good things). No, if you let it, the Bible can have a far-reaching impact. It can penetrate your heart and soul and transform you into someone less known for their speaking and more known for their doing.
And the world sits up and takes notice of a person like this. Who humbly, quietly, passionately pursues Jesus by serving the least of these. It’s the kind of person about which people say, “He’s different.” That difference is the gospel worked out inside of you.
So don’t let your faith be only as deep as a bumper sticker or Jesus T-shirt. Dive into His Word and let His Word penetrate your soul.
Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at twitter.com/dandarling, or check out his website: danieldarling.com.