Is it Possible to Live Consistently?

by Lance Cordle

A man known for his conservative stance is seen to be guilty of the very acts which he has publicly condemned.  It has happened at least three times in the last few months (a preacher and two congressmen) and I am not so naive as to think it won’t happen again.  What’s more is that the instances were not one-time lapses of judgment, but cases of men who had patterns of behavior that were direct contradictions of the men’s public professions.

Unfortunately, it appears that the American public is about to become extremely cynical (actually, they already are) and assume that most conservative thinkers and religious people are hypocrites.  While you may rightly say such an assumption is unfair, do not be surprised to see this trend continue.  Some praise those who blatantly live in sin for not being hypocritical.  While we may “appreciate” the consistency of someone who does not pretend to be something they are not, we should never admire a sinner for sinning.

There is another problem as well.  You and I see ourselves and know that there are areas in our lives in which we struggle.  We may thus feel reluctant to speak out about sin, fearful that someone might bring our shortcomings to light–even if those shortcomings are not patterns of willful behavior.  We ask ourselves, “How can I live in such a way as to be consistent with my profession of faith in God?”  Here are some answers:

  • Humble yourself before God and pray that you will be kept from a spirit of pride (James 4:10).  Remember that pride precedes destruction (Proverbs 16:18).
  • Beware of saying things like “I would never…” or “No one in my family would ever…”  Peter told Jesus that he would never deny Him (Matthew 26:35), yet just a few hours later, he did.  None of us know what we might do in a moment of weakness.  We would like to think we would not give in to temptation, but we cannot say for sure that we would not.  Our best course of action would be to avoid situations that we know would exploit our weaknesses and to get out of them as quickly as possible if we inadvertently stumble into them.
  • If you correct someone, do so in a spirit of humility (Galatians 6:1-2) letting them know that you are not “above” them, but one who is trying to help them.  In condemnation of behavior, let the Bible speak, and let your behavior reflect the Bible (2 Peter 3:11-12).  “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

Remember that consistent living is not perfection, but a pattern of godliness.  We can live faithfully (Revelation 2:10 before God.

The Encourager, Volume 19, Number 36, September 9, 2007

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