Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousnessPsalm 35:28 ESV
and of your praise all the day long.
A genuine faith as an active faith. A vocal faith. A visible faith.
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.Luke 3:2-3 ESV
John the Baptist may have been the original fire and brimstone preacher. He spoke with passion about the judgement awaiting those that were complacently living life and not bearing fruit. His unique lifestyle and message drew people out to hear what he had to say. And, even though his message might not have been easy to hear, the people responded.
10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics[b] is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”Luke 3:10-14 ESV
His power and teachings made them wonder if he could be the Christ. That’s right. His ministry was so moving, that people wondered if he could be “The One.”
Does my lifestyle and message ever lead anyone’s thinking down that path? Or, is my life not even distinguishable from those living around me? Do my words say anything different from society’s voice?
And then, I need to press a step further.
Does my lifestyle and message evoke a response to know more, to hear more, to believe similarly? Sometimes the Christian conservative voice is quite different from others, but it only draws hatred and mockery. I’m not talking about when the message of the cross – repentance, submission, serving, etc. – is a stumbling block to those who are perishing. I’m talking about the times when instead of letting God’s Word drive to the heart of sin, my words speak rejection to an individual. Or, when instead of listening to the needs around me, I speak out with callous words of condemnation. I often need to delete or not send Facebook messages or texts because I know the context was not clear, or the wording could be misinterpreted. Phone calls and face-to-face meetings are often better for sensitive subjects.
We do not need to shy away from truth or sugar-coat it, but we also don’t need to hurl it at people (or spit it through our keyboard) without a loving delivery or a burdened heart.
Lord, give me boldness to speak Your truth. Overflow my heart with love for those that need to hear and wisdom to reach out, initiate, and respond to their heart needs. May my heart speak praise to You and the gospel to the world and may my life follow consistently with those messages. In Jesus name, Amen.