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February 8, 2024 | Daily Devotionals | February 8

The Gospel at All Times


Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive ourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22


Here’s another killer quote that has been famously misattributed: “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” Supposedly St. Francis of Assisi said this some 800 years ago. However, there’s no evidence that he actually said it. The sentiment is provocative: model Jesus to people with your actions more than your words. 


God’s man leads by example. At times, actions speak much louder than words. But here’s the closest thing to the above quote that Francis actually did say: “No brother should preach contrary to the form and regulations of the holy Church nor unless he has been permitted by his minister … All the Friars … should preach by their deeds.” Make sure your words match your actions. That’s the message and it’s a powerful one. But even Francis preached the Gospel—verbally and powerfully. Sometimes he’d preach five times a day as he traveled from village to village. 


You can preach the Gospel with and without words—but both are necessary to reach the world God puts in front of us. Sometimes walking across a crowded room to help a hurting person is preaching the Gospel. Other times the Holy Spirit tells us to tell that same person about Jesus. 


Jesus told His disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). Sometimes we use words to tell others about His love, while other times He will lead us by our actions. This much is for sure: If we preach Jesus but our actions don’t match our words, our ability to witness suffers. Be speakers and doers of the Word. Jesus did both. 


Lord, help me know when to preach by actions and when to speak Your words. Set me on fire with Your Word.

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