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Talk is Cheap

Neither salvation nor success depend on our words. We must act!

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Remember the phrase “Talk is cheap”? Perhaps you have heard these questions asked: “Do you know the Lord?” “Have you given your heart to the Lord?” “Do you love the Lord?” Millions of people would answer all of those questions with a resounding, “Yes! Amen! Praise the Lord!” But what does the Lord say? Read the words of Jesus Christ in Luke 6:46: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

What kind of foundation are you building?

Hearing is not enough. Words are not enough. He that hears and does not do anything merely talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk! Christ goes on to say in verses 47–49: “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”

You could drive by two brand new houses—one built on the earth, the other built on a solid foundation. The roof and the siding could be on both of them, and they could look pretty from the outside. You would be hard pressed to determine which house was built on sand and which house was built on a rock. But if a storm hits those two houses with high wind and flooding and destructive weather, then you could tell. The one built on a rock stands. The one built on earth collapses.

Jesus Christ is drawing an analogy here showing the difference between someone who just patiently hears and does nothing, and someone who hears and takes action. To do or not to do, that is the question. We are either doers or we are not doers. It is that simple.

God inspired the apostle John to write: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:3–4). That is a big if. The word “keep” means action and doing.

Mr. Herbert Armstrong taught, “Knowledge is of no value unless applied.” You can have knowledge about many things and talk about them endlessly, but if you do not put that knowledge to use, it is of no value. It produces nothing. Talk really is easy and cheap!

We can know the truth, understand the truth, and love the truth, but if we are not doers of the truth, the most important step is still missing and nothing is accomplished in the end. Once God opens our minds, understanding the truth becomes quite simple. We still have to study and pray and be taught—but we can understand! It makes sense. The puzzle comes together and we can see the picture. Understanding is not the hardest part. The hardest part is to DO the truth. Many people know the truth and understand the truth. But to follow it, obey it, and implement it—that’s a different story altogether!

Are you passive, or active?

This theme runs throughout the bible. The apostle James wrote, under inspiration of God, “But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:22–25).

He can look in the mirror and see his hair is not combed, his tie is not straight and he has a smudge on his face. A passive person will then turn around and walk away, forgetting all about it. He just looks and does nothing. But if he is a doer, he will look and say, “I need to comb my hair and straighten my tie. I am going to get this smudge off my face.” He will do something about what he sees because he is a doer.

We can understand the Ten Commandments in the spirit and in the letter. We can love the law. We can talk about the Ten Commandments and explain them. But without the final step nothing comes of it. We have to obey God’s Law!

You have heard about the proverbial sidewalk superintendents, with their hard hats on and their arms folded, looking like know–it–all experts. Their big trucks parked there with lights flashing impressively, while one or two men are hard at work. The rest are just talking and usually the ones that talk the most do the least. Who gets the hole dug? The ones doing the digging, not the ones yapping away!

That can be true spiritually. We can hear and believe and understand, but if we do not put it into action, nothing happens. Doing is hard work—such hard work that we cannot overcome and grow and get rid of sin on our own. We need help and strength and the desire that comes only from God. He promises to fight our battles for us and with us. Jesus Christ said in John 15:5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” God will do the things we cannot do, and He will help us do our part. But we do have our part to do.

You cannot “go it alone”

If you feel like you are spinning your wheels, maybe you are trying to do it on your own. Beseech God to help you do your part and to do what you cannot do, asking with the attitude of “I want to do what I must do.” Not, “I’m going to just sit here and wait. Please let me know when you’ve taken care of the problem, so I can enjoy the results.” If we want help, we must be eager to help ourselves.

Just “knowing the Lord” is not enough. Knowing the truth and agreeing with it is not sufficient: “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13). Talking until we are blue in the face is meaningless of and by itself. We have to combine it with action.

It is truly a privilege to know a large number of people of all ages who are busily sharing and living life brim–full and running over! They produce, grow, develop and proceed in the right direction because they patiently hear and actively do what needs to be done.

They are not like the people described in Ezekiel 33:31–32: “And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.”

Talk, of and by itself, is cheap and produces nothing of lasting value. However, hearing and talking and doing all combined produce rich dividends which will ultimately last for ever and ever!