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So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said “Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” – 1 Samuel 14:11

 Some people say, “It’s the thought that counts,” but it’s funny how that saying completely contradicts another famous saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” In my experience, the second saying is far more true. My wife never enjoys it when I come home to tell her I thought about getting her flowers. It’s easy to see how thoughts without actions are silly in that context. Unfortunately, much of my Christian journey has been marked by the assumption that only thoughts count. I’ve even been frustrated when my sound theological thinking hasn’t suddenly transformed me. Why do I believe actions are louder than words in most areas of life and then live as if I can think my way to transformation?

Imagine what might have happened in 1 Samuel 14 if Jonathan and his armor bearer had stopped just before they stepped out of hiding. Imagine if they had made their plan and then changed their minds right before they took action. We wouldn’t be reading this story. When they “showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines” the story becomes compelling. It’s one thing to say, “God can save by many or by few” and a completely different thing to attack a huge army with only two men (1 Samuel 14:6).

In his excellent book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller proposes that the same elements used in composing a good story make up a good life. Every good story has an inciting incident that sends the protagonist down a new path. Sometimes those incidents are out of the character’s control while other times one decision can send a character into the center of the narrative. Miller writes about how we can self-inflict inciting incidents. That is exactly what we see in Jonathan’s story. When Jonathan shows himself to the Philistines, he changes the future outcome. In that moment, he and his companion begin a trust fall upon God and the ripple effect of that one action affects more than just Jonathan’s life, it affects all of Israel.

This is one of the powerful functions of community in the life of a believer. When we speak our intentions to obey God aloud it strengthens our conviction to follow through. What is an inciting incident that you need to self-inflict? It could be a decision to trust or to obey. Tell someone your intention to make that leap of faith and then, leap![/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Aaron Bjorklund 

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