Thu, 10/18/2007 – 20:11 — David Watson
It is extremely disturbing that the cultural demographics (behavior patterns) are basically the same for Christian families and individuals who go to church every week, and for families and individuals who rarely or never enter the door of a church. There are some reports that indicate evangelical Christians have some less desirable social traits than do non-Christians. (see endnotes)
I think the root cause of this is that many Christians are not consistent in their public and private practice of faith. They say they believe the Bible when in public, but at home in private one is hard pressed to demonstrate an obedience-based faith. Our children and grandchildren know when our public and private faces are not the same, and the message this sends is that Christianity is not really about obeying God and living by the teachings of the Bible.
Here are some questions that might help you examine your consistency.
Do you ask your child or spouse everyday if they have taken their vitamins or medicines or eating properly? Do you ask your child or spouse everyday if they have read their Bible and what they may have learned from God’s word?
Do you take a strong public stance against pornography and/or violence, but at home you have R rated movies that include sex scenes, nudity, vulgarity, and/or violence? Or, perhaps you are violent or vulgar at home?
Do you scold your children for lying to you or their friends, but you will lie to family, colleagues or neighbors to get out of doing something, or to avoid “hurting someone’s feelings?”
Do you never miss going to the gym, but will skip worship and fellowship with Believers for any reason?
When family or friends come to visit, do you decide not to go to church in order to be a good host?
Do you insist that your children never steal, but then do everything you can to get out of paying taxes or working an honest day’s work for your pay?
I’m sure you can add more questions to this list. These are just some that in the past have hit me where I lived.
Consistency was what Moses was talking about when he introduced the law in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Moses starts out saying the LORD our God, the LORD is one. In other words, God is consistent. There is only one God and He is always the same.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. This leaves no room for feeling, thinking, or doing anything that is out of step with God – regardless of situation or circumstance.
These commandments are to be upon your hearts. As the heart sustains life, so do these commands. If one’s heart stops for the briefest amount of time, death can result. If one obeys and then disobeys, death can result.
Impress these commands on your children. We are expected to pass along what we have received and what we know about God to future generations. The following verses tell us how.
Talk about the law when you sit at home and when you walk along the road. We are to talk to our children and others about God in private and in public. Be consistent.
Talk about the law when you lie down and when you get up. Regardless of the time of day, the intimacy of the moment, the beginning to the end of the day – we are to be consistent in knowing and loving God, talking about the law and obeying it.
Tie them as symbols on your hand. Have reminders in your life to know and consistently obey the law.
Tie them as symbols on your forehead. Your life consistently demonstrates to others that you love God and obey him.
Write them on your doorframes: When people enter your privacy of your home they will see from your private behavior that you love and obey God; and this is consistent with your public lives, because they saw it written on your gate, that is, your behavior in public.
Consistency changes everything. Our marriages are better. Our children are more obedient, and grow up to be good citizens of the Kingdom and the world. Our stress levels go down because we do not have to hide anything from anyone inside or outside our homes. People are amazed that we really do what we say we believe. And this kind of lifestyle consistently and continually opens the door to share your faith in such a way that others come to know Christ and find their own homes redeemed.
Consistency – a primary behavior pattern of mature Believers.