The gap between belief and action

You’re home. Someone walks in and tells you your house is on fire. After sorting through questions like, “Who are you?” and, “How did you get in here?” assuming you believe them, what are you going to do? Get out, right? Of course. Your belief will result in action.

This is the analogy I have often used to describe authentic belief in God. It’s more than a mental ascent, more than empty words. If a person believes that Jesus is the only hope, he or she will step away from the way things used to be, life will take on a different appearance.

I think the analogy works in essence, but looking at my life, it is easy to see a gap between certain things I believe and the actions I have taken as a result.

I truly believe cardio and exercise greatly benefits overall health, but the tread on my running shoes would tell a different story. I know that I would be wise to cut dairy and sugar out of my diet, but as I write this I am staring at the empty wrapper of the ice cream bar I just finished.

My belief doesn’t correlate with my actions.

You have probably noticed this in your own life, distances between what you know to do and what you actually do.

These gaps take on different forms, depending on the person. For some, it’s laziness. For others, apathy or selfishness. I don’t think it’s as simple as you either believe or you don’t. For many of us, there is a gulf fixed between brain and foot, faith and response.

In scripture, Jesus encountered a man who was really good at keeping the rules. He approached Jesus with a question. “What can I do to guarantee eternal life?” Jesus responded with one requirement, an action plan.

“Sell everything you have. Give it all to the poor and you will have treasure waiting in Heaven. Come follow me.”

Instant conversion. No, actually the man walked away sad, not because he didn’t believe, but because Jesus uncovered his gap. This man was rich, and to him abandoning the comforts of wealth to follow a poor carpenter was too big an investment.

I have friends that acknowledge belief in God, but they don’t live a life that reflects it. I don’t think they are being disingenuous. We tend to separate humanity into believers and non-believers, but life is never that simple. There are also followers and non-followers, those who have bridged the void between belief and action, and those who have not.

Yes, there are people who reject the idea of God and faith altogether. They don’t believe the roof is on fire, and if it is, well, let it burn. At least the words match the deeds.

At some point, believers have to become followers, to move away from middle ground.

Where are the gaps in your life? Your faith, family, career?

The sooner you assess them honestly, the sooner you can take action. And perhaps help others as well.

What are the gaps we often overlook? Share them in the comments section below.

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Photo Credit: Okaar

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