Written By: Marnie Pouget
Jon Glock, currently Vice President for Advancement at Emmaus Bible College in Dubuque, Iowa, then a Youth Ministries Worker in Murfreesboro, Tennessee came to our youth retreat as the guest speaker. His passion for youth and his captivating preaching style had our attention from the get-go. He spoke with a bit of a southern drawl and one of his phrases has stuck with me over the last 17 or so years. “Your walk talks and your talk talks but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” (try saying that 10x fast!)
It can be a tongue twister for sure but don’t let the truth of it get twisted in your mind. I am sure you have heard another version of this truth. “Your actions speak louder than your words.” What you do matters.
If we claim to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, if we are willing to speak out about our faith and our convictions, then how we live is important. It is the witness that what we do lines up with what we say.
The apostles and disciples preached Christ crucified. They shared the gospel, the good news but even Peter was publicly rebuked by Paul. We read in Galatians 2, that Peter was fine eating with the Gentiles until certain Jews came along and then he refrained and separated himself from the Gentiles. Peter knew that the Gospel had been freely given to both Jew and Gentile and yet he was not consistently living that out. Paul sums it up saying, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
I like how Paul puts it in Philippians 3:16 “Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”
We have been given the free gift of salvation. The chains of sin have been broken. The power of death has been defeated. Then why do we continue to live like we are still in bondage? At what point do we allow the fruit of the Spirit to abound in our lives? The New Testament letters are full of lists of what we should be “putting away” and what we should be “holding on to”. Why do we continue to live like these instructions don’t exist? Or maybe we think they don’t apply to us.
Romans 8:29 says “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” When do we stop holding tightly onto our own image and surrender to being conformed to the image of his Son, our Savior? This proverb well known in Christian circles and is commonly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi
“Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”
The truth is that St. Francis said no such thing and many Christians are up in arms about this saying. I have read articles and heard preachers denounce this notion emphatically. While the quote cannot be rightfully attributed to anyone, I am not sure that it is completely without merit.
We are called to preach the gospel. It’s the great commission. Jesus commands it. Therefore, words are indeed necessary. However, if our actions don’t follow the words we preach then we are guilty of hypocrisy. In Matthew 23:3 Jesus gives this warning about the Pharisees “But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
It is good to note that the followers of Jesus did not name themselves “Christians”. Acts tells us that when Barnabas returned to Antioch, he saw the evidence of the grace of God in the followers there. It was here in Antioch that believers were first called Christians. The people recognized them as different, identified them with Christ and named them accordingly.
This common question is worthy of consideration. “If you were tried in a court of law for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Ponder that for a few moments. Weigh it out. What’s your answer?
Paul encourages, in 1 Peter 2:12 “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” Titus 2:7
The Bible is full of instructions to believers on how to live. I imagine if how we lived wasn’t that important, the Holy Spirit would have left sections of the New Testament out. But he didn’t therefore we should take them seriously. We are called to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that we have (1Peter 3:15). The call to preach the gospel wasn’t a suggestion. It was a command. But whether you like it or not, we are called to live the gospel. The power of God and the evidence of His transforming work in our lives should be visible. Tangible. Unmistakable.
How is your talk? And your walk?
Until Next Time,