James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
In talking with one of my kids this weekend, the subject of saying one thing and doing another came up and it was clearly disturbing to them. I began to think about how this has been a tough area for me to grow in and God began to unpack this in my heart long after my conversation was over.
We all have a desire to do what is right and for those we love to do the same but when that doesn’t happen it has an effect on everyone involved. First, let me say that me, my kids, and everyone else in my family are far from perfect and we often get this wrong. I think it’s important to recognize that we ALL have weaknesses and inconsistencies in our life that we must work on. Maybe it’s in the way we use our words, or in how we value our relationships. Perhaps it is how we respond to criticism or anger or maybe it’s in how we handle our finances or in our personal time with the Lord.
If I’m honest, I’ve been guilty of missing the mark in all of these areas one time or another in my life. Whatever your weakness is – God’s grace is sufficient, but we must give our weaknesses to Him and allow His strength to move in and help us become stronger in these areas. To continue patterns that are hurtful to you or to others only leads to a path of destruction. To live one life in private and another in public IS damaging, not only to you, but also to those looking to you for spiritual guidance.
Realizing that everyone is at a different place on their journey and extending grace for that, is an area in which we can all grow. No matter how much I love someone, I can’t change them or their choices. I’m only responsible for me. We must remember that how we handle ourselves is a direct reflection of the God we serve. How do we want people, who maybe have never encountered God, to think of Him? How do we want those going through a difficult time to view Him? How do we want those we lead to trust and respect Him? If we believe He is ALL that He says he is…how can we carry and handle ourselves in a way that is in direct contradiction to His character? It’s hard to accept but we will ALL fail – we will over react, say the wrong thing and make the wrong decisions but grace, the beautiful undeserved gift of grace, is available through Christ.
We must all walk our own road by our own convictions, as directed by the Holy Spirit and be committed not to compromise in those convictions. Be proactive to remove relationships that are unhealthy or unfruitful but do so in love. Also, be very careful not to slip into the seat of judge in other people’s lives as that place is reserved for God alone. People, even those you love, will hurt and disappoint you and you will do the same to them. Pursue righteousness, leave room for grace to move in and make a commitment that when you get it wrong to give it to God and do better next time. That is called growth and as long as you’re growing, you’re going…straight into the place God has for you!