Minute Meditations

A Bias Toward Action

Father helps daughter cross the street.

Jesus says, “I am not asking you to just believe my words, look at my actions, or the ‘works that I do.’ ” Actions speak for themselves, whereas words we can argue about on a theoretical level. The longer I have tried to follow Jesus, the more I can really say that I no longer believe in Jesus. I know Jesus. I know him because I have often taken his advice, taken his risks, and it always proves itself to be true! Afterward we do not believe, we know. Jesus is not telling us to believe unbelievable things, as if that would somehow please God. He is much more saying to us, “Try this,” and you will see for yourself that it is true. But that initial trying is always a leap of faith into some kind of action or practice. The Scriptures very clearly teach what we call today a “bias toward action.” It is not just belief systems or dogmas and doctrines, as we have often made it. The Word of God is telling us very clearly that if you do not do it, you, in fact, do not believe it and have not heard it. 

The only way that we become convinced of our own sense of power, dignity and the power of God is by actually doing it—by crossing a line, a line that has a certain degree of nonsensicalness and unprovability to it—and that’s why we call it faith. In the crossing of that line, and acting in a new way based on what we believe the kingdom values are, then and only then, can we hear in a new way and really believe what we say we believe in the first place. Let me sum it up this way: We do not think ourselves into a new way of living. We live ourselves into new ways of thinking. Without action and lifestyle decisions, without concrete practices, words are dangerous and largely illusory.

—from the book Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent
by Richard Rohr

Preparing for Christmas by Richard Rohr


2 thoughts on “A Bias Toward Action”

  1. I agree that there is a difference between believing and knowing, since belief is an emotional thing. Whereas with knowing, we then are talking about personal experience.

    1. Look, you have it right. I believe from experience as an animal, what I naturally do and practice, I walk, I talk. The beat of life, I am born to imitate. From childhood, to adulthood. For some, that beat, that rhythm, continues, from sex, back to God. But there is no denying the heart. You only chose to interpret its language, it’s beat, as animal less, or animal plus.

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