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Talk is Cheap

Talk is Cheap

Which of the two did the will of his father? Matthew 21:31

In my first attempt at recovery, I ran my mouth more than I should have. I was supremely confident that I’d never relapse, so, I told my counselor and sponsor as much. I knew I’d never need to go meetings again and I certainly didn’t need a relapse prevention plan. I made bold predictions about my success. They failed to see in me much willingness to change though, so they were both skeptical, which really bothered me, causing me to try even harder to convince them. No really. I’m never, ever going to use again. They knew what I now know. Talk is cheap. My bolds words were useless without action.

I knew better than they did though and so, I did nothing they told me, once I didn’t have to anymore. Relapse didn’t take long. My empty words couldn’t stop me from returning to my self-destructive behavior.

In today’s passage, Jesus addressed our tendency to talk big. In the parable, he told of a landowner who asked his two sons to work in his vineyard. The first said no, but then changed his mind and did as father asked. The second promised he would work but then didn’t. Jesus asked his audience, Who did the will of his father?

Our faith and recovery do not lie in the impressiveness of our words. We can claim to believe all the right things and fail miserably in living out those beliefs. If we call ourselves Christians but we never get around to loving our neighbor, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, or following Christ, then we’re like the second son. We keep saying we’ll follow the father, but our words prove to be empty as we follow only ourselves.

Faith isn’t just going to church and knowing the right answers. Faith is living out what we claim to believe. When it comes to our addiction, we can recite the 12 steps while drunk. Simply saying the words means nothing without living them. Likewise, we can recite correct Christian doctrine, while living our lives only in pursuit of greed, pornography, drugs, pride, work, anger, or food.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean we won’t struggle. Being a Christian means we make a genuine effort daily to abandon our way to follow God’s. We don’t just say it. We do it.

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