Have you ever backslid? I don't mean a momentary set back where you stumbled and fell, but a season where you were choosing the world over God? A good number of Christians have experienced a season like this, and they will all tell you, it is not an enjoyable period. In that moment, one has too much of God to enjoy the world and too much of the world to enjoy God. This proverbial pig pen is probably the least joyous place to be as a Christian but, by the Grace of God, I personally can attest that He can teach us a thing or two, from our stupidity... I was in the midst of that "season," knowing that the answer to that question would lead me down a road I wasn't sure I wanted to go down. "You've never been to a strip club?" I was asked by a roommate, who would immediately remedy the situation, if I said no. So there I was, getting my ﬁrst lap dance and thinking in my own depravity, I wonder if this girl knows Jesus? That conversation didnʼt go well, to say the least.
Thatʼs an extreme example of the big idea, Iʼm hoping to get across. There is a tie to the way we live, and the message we proclaim. What Iʼm not saying is “preach the Gospel always, if necessary, use words” This quote is largely attributed to Francis of Assisi, but church history lets us know that he proclaimed the Gospel often, with words. The quote shows up 2 centuries after Francis died, so it probably was made up by some guy pendulum swinging off of some other guy, whose walk didnʼt back up his talk.
"your walk is not an either/or but a both/and."
What I am saying is that your walk is not an either/or but a both/and. Scripture says it this way, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus...” (Colossians 3:17 ESV). We have a responsibility to proclaim the Gospel (Romans 10:14) and live in a way that reﬂects our words (2 Cor. 8:21). This does two things:
1. It gives us boldness in our proclamation
2. It gives us a certain amount of street cred to those that we are speaking to.
The Bible says, that our witness can be hindered or enhanced by whatʼs called a good conscience. Have you ever felt lead to talk to a friend about Jesus but stopped short because you know that they know you lack biblical integrity?! That is the point, we should live in a way that reﬂects our witness so our witness isnʼt hindered. Paul says it this way “For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God...” (2 Cor. 1:12). Notice he didnʼt say perfection, but by Godʼs Grace.
It would be easy to pack your bags and make this a religious guilt trip by either nailing it (pride) or failing it (shame). The hope is to live within the Gospel. The person and work of Jesus living the life we couldnʼt, dying the death we deserve and rising again granting us life through Him- thatʼs our motivation! We do because He did. The power found in the Gospel leads to a life of repentance, worship, and integrity. This is our call on how to live and then testify of this power with words.
Coming out of the holiday season is a great time to get started. Your friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. are more open to hearing about Jesus, so take advantage of it. You might even need to start with a confession, “You know I havenʼt always lived right, but God has shown me Grace. Can I tell you about it?” “
...in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” (1 Peter 3:15-16 )