1 Corinthians 15:58
New International Version
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in theLord is not in vain.
Unbelievers cannot believe it when a believer is inconsistent.
Everyone loves consistency. Even if it annoys them, it becomes respected if repeated often enough. Then it becomes expected. I had a friend in the Army, a Jesus Freak. As hard as we tried to get him to sway, he would not compromise. We laughed at him at first, but towards the end of the tour he was the one we went to for prayer and counsel.
We, as believers, have to decide what message we want to convey. If we confess that we are Christian, immediately everything you say or do after that must point to Christ. We shouldn’t point at nationality, politics, or even yourself. We must not appear to have two masters.
Having a divided message is seconded only by flakiness. Time and again, I see us as the Body of Believers, The Church, Christ’s Bride, making commitments and then not following through. That inconsistency appears to non believers as a contradiction between what you say and what you do.
We are all guilty. Thankfully there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, but I think it would be good to look at the areas where we fail. The objective is to improve, not to criticize. Here are some examples of how we can be inconsistent.
1. Watch our emphasis – we can focus on sin or grace. We can either be sin exterminators or grace dispensers. We can not legislate holiness nor righteousness. We can’t even force someone to live correctly at a personal level. Salvation is a free gift from God. We need to share our faith and pray for people. We sometimes manipulate people. We insist on someone saying ‘The Prayer’ of acceptance with all the emphasis on that. The problem is the same zealot then disappears from their lives completely, even when they live 15 minutes away. It is important to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, but that is just the start. The emphasis should be that God puts their belief in THEM and THEN they are confessing their belief to others. Confession comes both in actions and in words. If we really believe what we say, we should follow up as often as possible. It is important to show you care by following up as much as possible. You don’t plant a seed without watering and weeding afterwards. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
2. Watch our tongues – I use children as my guide. If they correct me or are troubled by what I say, I am usually in the wrong. (I am as guilty of this as much as anyone.) Children and unbelievers are watching so we need to be reminded of crude jokes, gossip, put downs, mocking, sarcasm, slander, cursing, unkindness, pride, bragging, lying, (even white lies), harshness, ‘speaking angry’ (as my son would say) boasting, reveling. All of these make children and unbelievers question you as a Christian. Jesus said it would be better for a millstone to be hung around your neck than to make a child stumble. Well, we are all guilty of some of this, but we can change that right now… today is the first day of the rest of our lives.
3. Watch our testimony – We are being watched. Run from temptation or any appearance of temptation. People are watching. Watch where we park our cars, where we go, what we look at including social media. Unbelievers will not give you a chance to explain. They are hoping to see something different so when you let them down, they are disappointed and angry with you. They don’t see a fallen Christian as someone who is ‘tolerant’. They see them as a deceiver. There are obvious temptations and failures, and then there are negatives that a watching non-believer can see that are more sublime. A sneer, a snarl, a rejection can most likely be done in total innocence.
Like I said we are all guilty. I fail miserably on a daily basis especially when around all the children. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives so let us all pray for each other that we are more consistent and we are LIGHTS on a HILL for everyone to see.
Paul said that our lives are the only epistles that people read.
2 Corinthians 3:2
King James Bible
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: