Actions speak loudly and often reveal the deep movements of our heart. And it’s tempting to simply focus on doing the right thing as if nothing else mattered. But we can still miss the mark when we do the right thing with the wrong heart attitude. Our actions matter, but so does our heart.
Life is a lot simpler with just a list of do’s and don’ts to follow. And, to be sure, it’s reassuring to know our actions are either on the approved list or not.
But it also makes it easier to keep the deeper issues of our heart hidden when we can just hide behind performing the right acts. For instance, we don’t have to address the hatred or lust in our hearts as long as we’re not actually killing someone or committing adultery. But Christ calls us to a higher standard.
Of course, it’s good not to engage in behaviors that are clearly sinful. But it’s tempting to flirt with the line and see how much we can get away with when we’re not concerned about our hearts. Or perhaps we just hide behind the rules without giving our hearts a passing thought.
For example, it’s not enough to simply not kill someone. We’ve been called to love as Christ has loved us, which includes our enemies. And we can’t do this when we’re stewing in hatred, but also prideful because at least we haven’t caused them physical harm.
Likewise, it’s not enough to focus just on knowing the rules and managing our behaviors without also allowing our hearts to be transformed. We cannot use our freedom for love and good works when our focus is anxiously on trying to keep the letter of the law.
To be clear, our actions matter and we cannot simply do whatever we want just because it seems good. But we also cannot get so lost in the weeds of our actions that we neglect the deeper issues of our heart.
In the end, consistently do the right thing because your actions matter. And don’t forget to keep your heart centered on God as you do, because your heart matters as well.