Our actions speak louder than our words.
A Stumbling Block.
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. (1 John 2:10)
But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. (1 Corinthians 8:9)
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (1 Corinthians 15:33)
It can never be emphasized enough how much damage a bad witness can be to the cause of Christ. Our actions speak much louder than our words, which is why Christ said to His listeners:
The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. (Matthew 23:2-3)
Many churches remind me of the old song by Cole Porter which I have paraphrased;
In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But in the churches,
Good preachers too who once knew better words,
Now only use four letter words
In the churches, Anything Goes
God gave a grave warning through His Prophet:
Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:21)
Christian youths often have a cavalier attitude to the way they dress, speak and behave. Christian parents and leaders have allowed them to think that it doesn’t matter because of the scripture that states:
for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
They have been persuaded that as long as a person has a “sincere heart” then “who are we to judge”? After all, didn’t Jesus say, “Judge not!”? But this is a misapplication of the scripture.
In the first place when God was spoke those words with Samuel He was warning Samuel about being misled by Saul’s appearance. Saul was tall, handsome and fitted the image that most people had of what a King should be! In other words, we can be fooled into thinking someone is truly fantastic because they project a “positive image”! Whereas God is not fooled by appearances.
When it comes to clothing the scripture states:
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. (1 Timothy 2:9-10)
Too often we can observe young Christian women wearing clothing that accentuates their curves with short skirts or even shorter shorts. It is difficult to counter such immodesty when church pastors allow their own daughters to dress immodestly
It is also written:
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. (Colossians 3:8)
It is not unusual to hear Christians use profane language. It is difficult to counter this when such profanity is heard from the very pulpits of the churches!
Today it is not uncommon to find amongst a gathering of Christian Youth those who drink to excess, smoke dope and engage in sexual activity! What makes it even worse is that some of these same young people are often the children of pastors and elders!
My wife challenged a Christian friend once about the fact that she was allowing her fiance to live with her in her one bed-roomed apartment. She became angry stating that he needed somewhere to stay because he was having problems with his neighbours at his own apartment. She swore that they were not “sleeping together” and accused my wife of “judging” and being “unloving”! What kind of witness this was giving to her neighbours we can only guess. Apparently the people at her own church did not see the problem!
Husbands are exhorted to:
love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (Ephesians 5:25) and;
love your wives, and be not bitter against them. (Colossians 3:19)
This means that we are not to engage in any kind of behaviour that would anger them or make them feel threatened. This is especially true when it comes to those who we keep company with, even more so when it comes to members of the opposite sex. If a husband’s friendship with another woman is causing his wife to feel threatened then it is the marriage that must be defended–NOT the friendship. This is also true of wives!
Sanctification is not an optional extra in the life of the believer, as it is written;
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
(1 Peter 1:15-16)
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (Hebrews 12:14)
To the Church in Corinth Paul spoke of striving for the mastery:
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
(1 Corinthians 9:25)
By this he was referring to the battle for self control:
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)
Two things are key for this; Humility and Controlling the tongue!
God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5)
For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
The humble man is submissive to God. He will submit his whole life, the very fiber of his whole being, in order to please his God. At the same time he will strive to contain his tongue because, as James pointed out:
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. (James 3:5-6)
Christ gave us the perfect example:
For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
May God grant us temperance in all things that we might live lives that truly glorify Him. May we cease from seeking our own thing and seek to be servants to God and our fellow believers.
And may God help us to walk worthy of God in this world.
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