Imagine being a kid and going house to house to “Trick or Treat?” (Maybe some of you still do) You are excited about getting dressed up, putting on the costume that your parents purchased, you purchased, or maybe someone special made it for you. You grab your candy sack, and with great anticipation you run out the door into the neighborhood to fill up that bag! You approach the first house; your heart is beating rapidly; you ring the doorbell and as it opens you nervously shout, “trick or treat!” The person at the door is holding a big bowl, and with a smile they say, “I love your costume! Reach into the bowl and help yourself sweetie!”
Success! You did it! So you reach into the bowl, hoping for candy bars, taffy, and sugary sweets! But wait…there is nothing there. It’s empty! What’s going on? The person holding the bowl continues to smile, as if nothing is wrong. They look at you and say, “Happy Halloween, have a good night.” And then they turn around, walk inside, and shut the door.
What!? What just happened!? I expected sweets, I got nothing. I expected a handful of sugar, I got nothing! Nothing happy about that house – just a sorry, empty, “Hollow-een!” Imagine the disappointment!
I feel the same way when people tell me they love God, but when I reach into their lives I find nothing. Do you know what I’m saying? They look good and loving on the outside, but on the inside it’s empty and hollow.
Galatians 5:5-6 says, “But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.”
“We who live by the Spirit of God”…who is that? If you have confessed with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord, that’s you! (Romans 10:9) When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, what is important now? Paul gives us the answer. What is important is “FAITH EXPRESSING ITSELF IN LOVE.”
What is FAITH? It’s the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. It’s a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God.”
How do you display this faith? How do you see this faith in action? (EXPRESSING)
You display this truth by how you love. The word for love in this passage is “agape” love, which means unconditional and giving. The same love God has for us, expressed in John 3:16. It’s how we treat others. Love is thinking of yourself less, and thinking of others more. That’s love, and when we express it, we are expressing our faith!
If someone were to knock on your door today, would they find God’s love expressed in your love towards them or would you be handing them a hollow and empty love? Think about it….now, go do something about it!
For more reading, check out John 3:16, John 13:35, and I John 4:7