More than deep sentiment

"All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action." (James Russell Lowell) I know a lot of people that reveal a whole lot of nice sentiment, but all that sentiment is rarely backed by any kind of action. Sentiment is a mental emotion - a feeling that is supposed to be tied to an action, but many times it stops right there with the 'thought' of taking a particular action. God calls his children into action - not just into 'mental thought' of right and loving actions.

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. (I John 3:18-19)

Show the truth of God's love by the actions of love in our lives. So, how does that work? Truth gets worked into our hearts not just by osmosis - it gets worked into the fibers of our hearts by the actions we take based upon the truth that has been revealed to us. Love is an outflow of the love of God within us - but it is possible to give 'lip service' to any truth without actually backing it with any of the actions that show we understand and appreciate that truth.

As we become the person God desires us to be, the first thing we need to realize is that God is a God of action, not inaction. God reveals his love to us in action. Creation was an action. Parting a sea was an action. Consuming an offering on the altar was an action. Jesus on the cross was an action. A stone rolled away and Jesus coming forth was an action. All of God's love and care is revealed in actions. Why should our love be anything less?

Sentiment is a feeling - if it never leads to an action of love, it is pretty much useless. On the other hand, love actually needs the 'sentiment' (emotion) behind it for it to be more than 'obligation'. We can take many an action without love - because we feel obliged to do it. Obligation means we feel 'bound by duty' - there is a necessity to carry out the action, but there is no real 'heart' behind it. God's children are called to have both - the 'feeling' and the 'action'. Not out of a sense of 'duty' or 'obligation' (that is rule-keeping), but out of a heart that is deeply in love with Jesus first and above all. Just sayin!

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