“Do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
In America, when we say something, it can sometimes feel like we’ve
done it. “I’m cutting the lawn today before the party,” I tell Karen
when she calls to check on me. And then later, though it’s still not done, if she asks about it again, I have this internal reaction: “Ack – I’m in trouble, and I was just getting around to it.”
So, in the pressure of the moment, I’m tempted to tell her,
“yes.” My justification: I was going to get it done that very hour, so technically, it was
Anybody with a sales personality knows what I’m talking about.
Following Jesus can be complicated like that. We want our intentions to equal our actions.
The trouble is, Jesus’ standard is so darn high. Jesus made
exacting statements like, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and
does not put them into practice is like a foolish man.” (Matt. 7:26
You may say you believe something, but as Jesus said, we’re known
by our fruit – that’s what we really
believe. There’s a great word that
describes the stuff that we do as opposed to what we say or the theories
we espouse: praxis
You may say you follow Jesus. You may quote Bible verses and recite the Ten Commandments, but your praxis may show that you don’t.
NonChristians have enough of an understanding of what Jesus said
that they can spot our hypocrisy – the disconnect between what we do and
I don’t know about you, but there’s a voice inside me that always
wants to justify my actions, even if I know they’re wrong. Saying, “I’m
sorry” and admitting my error can be a terrible ordeal. I may look calm
on the outside, but inside a great internal debate may be raging.
Do you struggle with matching your actions up with your beliefs as I do? Do you live with the burden of that gap? That’s one reason I’m such a big fan of grace. I need so much grace myself.