My guess is that if you’re reading this, you are a believer in Jesus. Why would someone who is not a Christian read a section of the newspaper written by a bunch of different preachers? If I weren’t a believer, I wouldn’t pay attention to this little corner of the paper either. But on the off-chance you’re not a Jesus follower and have stumbled across this section, let me confess something. I’m writing this today with you in mind – a person who doesn’t consider themselves a Christian. And today, I want to let the obvious cat out the bag for you. Christians struggle to make how they behave match what they believe. Most, no, all Christians believe way beyond their level of behavior. There is often a discrepancy between what we claim to believe – about Jesus, about God, about the Holy Spirit, about ourselves and about non-Christians – and the way we actually behave. The only comfort I have in making that assertion in a public place is that I know you struggle with that, too. Everybody claims their sports team is the best – few would bet their lives on it. The phrase, put your money where you’re mouth is, is known because so many of us don’t.
See, the trouble with our behavior, or conduct, is that it will always betray our claims (if there’s a difference between them). As a Christian, I might say I trust God financially but behave as though He won’t provide. I may claim to follow Him but make choices in my life He wouldn’t support. I might say I believe in the church but not attend one myself. Our behavior always betrays what we really believe.
But that’s not the way Jesus lived. He actually said that people should believe what He said about Himself based on how He behaved (John 10:37). I’m afraid for many Christians that how we behave doesn’t do the cause of Jesus much good.
So here’s my encouragement if you’re not a Christian. Don’t blame God for everything a Christian may say or do. We’re just people who struggle to behave as we believe – just like you do. And for my sake and yours, I’m glad that it’s not our misbehavior that condemns us but our misbelief. I’m hoping you’ll give Jesus a chance to change your life despite the behavior of other believers.