"I could tell right away," he said, "it was the kind of place where people would cuss, then ask forgiveness, but then turn around and swear again."
This was my fifteen-year-old son's assessment of a Christian event he attended with a friend. What was he saying exactly? Was it a place where people were not concerned about their sin or flippant about their faith? Did he sense a spirit of complacency or hypocrisy? And how could he tell? How did he come to this realization so quickly?
People, even young people, can sense a fraud. When our walk doesn't line up with our talk, others take note.
"It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching."
Francis of Assisi
There is no place in Christianity for "do what I say, not what I do." If what we say doesn't match up with what we do, our words are nullified. Who trusts a doctor who tells us to watch our cholesterol, yet eats pizza every day for lunch? Would you rely on an accountant who throws away every receipt? Would your kids respect a teacher who harped on homework yet never graded it? We won't be taken seriously unless our behavior mirrors our words. Proverbs tells us, "Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right." Even a child.
It's not enough to say all the right things. We must DO all the right things. My son's observation spoke volumes to me. He didn't take a group of Christians seriously because their actions suggested they weren't sincere. Our walk has to match our talk. When it doesn't, we leave the door open for doubt and mistrust.
Lord God, help me walk my talk. May my actions speak louder than my words. Gently show me my inconsistencies and give me the courage to change. Teach me how to preach by walking.
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