Speaking Volumes
By Marybeth Whalen

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13 (NIV)

Have you ever heard someone say, “That speaks volumes to me?” What does that really mean? It means that something they heard or read went much further than just the sentence or paragraph that was spoken. It means that somehow the words reached inside them and touched a place that was broken or missing or in need of reassurance. It means that the words resonated throughout their heart and mind, echoing in every area of their life.

I want to be a Christian that speaks volumes into the lives of those around me. Not through my eloquent speeches or profound sermons. Not through my emails or blog posts or devotions. I want to speak volumes through my life. The trick is living a life that is visible to others— yet transparent and not hypocritical. I have to live out loud without hesitancy, without apology and without fear. That’s a tall order that involves a series of daily, intentional choices. And so, I ask myself a series of questions to help me make these choices often.

Am I insulating myself in a Christian bubble that eliminates me from encountering people who need Jesus?

Am I sharing stories of what Jesus means to me and has done for me with those I encounter?

Am I staying grounded in God’s word and praying without ceasing?

Am I the same person behind closed doors that I am around others?

Am I readily admitting my own faults and struggles to others?

Am I quick to forgive others, to not judge them and to try to see them through God’s eyes and not my own?

Do I have someone I am accountable to, and do I listen when they call me on the carpet?

What would my family and friends say about who I really am?

What would God say about who I really am? Who am I when no one else is looking?

All of these things are elements in my life that need my constant focus if I am to be a person whose faith is attractive to others. I have to make myself stare these things down, instead of turning my head and pushing them to the side to be dealt with another day. One of the biggest complaints I hear against Christianity is that Christians profess to believe one thing, but act entirely different. We profess to have love, but don’t act lovingly. We profess to be humble but act proud. We profess to be forgiving but exercise harsh judgment. We say we follow Jesus but exemplify none of His character qualities—avoiding the people He came to serve in the process.

Last summer, a neighbor of mine stopped me at the pool. “I see you running every day,” she said. “I admire that dedication you have to run even when it’s so hot outside.” As I walked away from that conversation, I thought about what she had unknowingly showed me. I have never seen her peeking out her window or waving from her yard. I never knew she saw me, never noticed her noticing me. And yet she was watching.

We may never know the numbers of people who unknowingly watch us run the race of life. They will see us struggle and strain, falter and even fall. But it is our dedication that will speak volumes. The fact that we keep going out there and trying again that they will remember. When we live a life that is visible, transparent and committed to God, we speak volumes to those around us. Even though we might never know we did.

Dear Lord, Help me to live a life that is visible and attractive to those who don’t know You. Let my life constantly point people back to You. Show me how to do that and help me when I struggle. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Today’s P31 Radio Show

Becoming a Woman of Influence, Message on CD by Marybeth Whalen

Visit Marybeth Whalen’s blog

For the Write Reason General Editor Marybeth Whalen

Application Steps:
Write down the questions from this devotion in your journal. Get into the habit of reviewing these questions at least weekly.

Reflections:
Did any of the questions I ask myself hit home with you? Which ones?

Do you live a life that is loud, transparent and devoted to God?
What keeps you from doing so? What equips you to do so?

Power Verses:
I Peter 2:12, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (NIV)

James 2:18, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” (NIV)


5 Comments:

Anonymous Bekah said...

Wow! To be completely honest it's so hard to be transparent. I've been struggling with this for awhile about learning to be transparent, especially since I'm leadership training at my church. Hard to be a leader if you can't be transparent and it's one of my weaknesses. But I have noticed though that the more I indulge in the Word and worship, the more God allows transparency to be seen in me. I believe this is one of the hardest things in our spiritual journey because most of us want to be seen as strong and able to handle situations like the Bible says to, but I fall short all the time. So I have a question, if we were to show our true selves, with our struggles and all, just how would we be perceived to others? And how much of our struggles should we portray? Aren't we also supposed to be careful of what we tell to others, especially those in the world? I mean think about it, if we are struggling and things are getting us down, shouldn't we be careful of what we say about the situation to certain people, for it could mean that they don't want anything to do with Christianity if things are also bad with us, right?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The trick is living a life that is visible to others— yet transparent and not hypocritical." Amen!
bekah "I mean think about it, if we are struggling and things are getting us down, shouldn't we be careful of what we say about the situation to certain people, for it could mean that they don't want anything to do with Christianity if things are also bad with us, right?"
I want the world to see that Jesus speaks volume in my life through my imperfections and how the Lord is changing me in living a life of victory despite of my struggles.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are all human and struggles come. People are looking for examples of others that have been through things in life! A lot of sinners will say, how can you help me if you have never been through anything? I think we as Christians should take our transparencies and use them as an opportunity to show others that God is able to deliver us out of any situation and our strenght can be made perfect through our weaknesses! what you consider weak but overcome it in your life may be just what someone else needs to witness in yur life to develope a closer walk with Jesus.
Be encouraged Beka!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When we go through trials and tests in this world, it does hurt, however, the attitude we have while going through will be what people see. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings: that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 1 Peter 4:13-14

For the last 3+ years I have been walking through a very dark time, however, God has never left me nor forsaken me as He promised me. He let me know at the beginning of my trial of faith, that the way I walk through this will be the way others will see Him. That spoke volumes to me and has caused me to choose to walk humbly before God and man. I have matured a lot, but still have a lot to learn and am willing to learn all that my Father in Heaven wants me to learn in order to become the woman of God He knows I can be. In this dark sin-stained world, we are called to be lights as well as Christ's ambassadors. A year after the Lord spoke to me saying that the way I walk through this would be the way they (those who were hurting me and everyone in my life) would see Him, I realized how important an ambassador is for the Kingdom of God. His Light is shining brightly, even though I've failed Him many times, He has never once failed me. My trust is completely and wholly in my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ and I can never thank Him enough for this test that is taking out all the impurities in me and filling me back up with Himself.

Take heart Bekah, knowing that those whom God loves, He disciplines. He sees you as what He knows you can be, and He is the only One able to help you become that woman of God and be completely whole. Keep yours eyes upon Jesus, the author & finisher of our faith, and you will never go wrong.

I will lift you in prayer.
In HIS Everlasting Love,

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The time to be transparent is when you can best glorify God. Discernment is the key. We can truly help others when we share how we have overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit. Sharing current struggles with non believers is definitely something to pray over first, otherwise, we may simply end up commiserating. I trust in God’s divine appointments don’t you? He always finds away to arrange the time, place and people to complete His work and bring Glory to His name when we’re faithful to stay diligently in His word and to bask in His presence. “acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your path”

In Him,

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