To love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. (Mark 12:33)

RESPONDING TO THE FAMOUS statement by Ghandi that if Christians would live according to their belief in the teachings of Jesus, “we all would become Christians,” John Ortberg says that we know what he meant, and he was right. But the dismaying truth is that Christians were living according to their belief in the teachings of Jesus. They just didn’t believe them!

Knowing the right answers—knowing which ones they are, being able to identify them—does not mean we believe them. To believe them, like believing anything else, means we are prepared to act as if those right answers are true and that we will do so in appropriate circumstances. True faith is not head knowledge alone. It is a deep conviction that makes its way into action.

Often, Christians are like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, who loved their rituals and ceremonies but failed to recognize God in them and looked down on the common people. They had missed the point completely. We, too, can fall into the trap of just going through the motions of attending church, serving on committees, leading worship, or teaching classes, all while bypassing the kingdom of God that is at work around us. Our salvation cannot rest on intellectual knowledge, convictions, or rituals. God wants your work and your heart!

Let your actions show what you believe.

Jeremy Summers is ministry director at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, GA and coauthor of Awakening Grace and Paradox (WPH).