Our Behavior Belies our Belief
Yet wisdom is justified by all her children. (Luke 7:35)
I stopped by a coffee shop today with a peace and love theme. Everything was this hippie peace and love vibe - except its owner. As I ordered, she smiled at me and took my order, a large coffee with a little room. And then she took a phone call where she completely berated a salesperson and hung up on them.
It was highly ironic. Here I am in this supposed little enclave of love and peace and caffeine and yet its founder only had the caffeine part down. Chill tunes and the smell of coffee and peace signs everywhere and disrespect. Huh.
I'm not immune to this hypocrisy. None of us are. The truth is that our behavior belies our belief.
If I say I love my kids yet I belittle them behind closed doors, my behavior belies my belief.
If I play the whole man of God part whenever it suits me, but I slight people in my business dealings, my behavior belies my belief.
If I nod my head during sermons about loving the poor, yet I roll up my window and look straight ahead when a beggar is at my truck window, my behavior belies my belief.
You must understand that everything you do tells the world who you really are. It may be in private where no one sees, but if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it it still falls. If you are a wretch in secret it still makes you a wretch.
Paul got it. He admitted he did things he didn't want to do and didn't do what he wanted to do. This is Paul, you know the guy who penned a bunch of the Bible and helped launch the church of Jesus Christ. That Paul. None of us are innocent of the hypocrisy of having a chasm between that which we claim to believe and that which we really do.
Some would aim at the behavior here. Manage your sin more tightly. Insulate yourself from the "world" and be a better man or woman. Come on, you got this. The problem is, you don't. And isolation is contrary to the heart of Christ. An isolated people who groupthink under the banner of faith is not a church, it's a cult. Jesus hung out with everyone, holy and hated and hopeful and hungry.
Our behavior is merely symptomatic. Our hearts are command central. So while we know the sugar pills of behavior modification might, by virtue of the placebo effect, create change for a day it will not create lasting change in us. We need to go to the heart.
To treat the heart - and thereby rectify our hypocrisy - we need to wash our hearts in the pure, clean, perfect gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to immerse ourselves in God's word on a daily basis and let its truth wash over us. We need to humble ourselves before our brothers and sisters in Christ and let them speak into our lives. And we need to pursue godly wisdom wherever it may be found. (Here's a hint, by the way: Godly wisdom is not relegated to church services. Godly wisdom is everywhere, as his fingerprints are everywhere. Just because someone doesn't claim the Christian faith doesn't mean they don't have God's truth on their tongue sometimes, but you have to know God's word to sort it all out. The feast is in the pages of Scripture.)
Salvation is a heart transplant. Sanctification is a heart transformation. Sanctification takes time and blood and sweat and tears. It is not a destination-based quest, but rather the process is the perfecting.
Our behavior belies our belief, and in order to live a more pure and upright life, we must fight for our belief. And that is done actually not by fighting at all, but rather by collapsing at the feet of the Lord and soaking up every morsel of his grace, truth, and wisdom.