It's easy to say one thing and do another. Unfortunately it is possible for our lives to be rife with incongruity. When that happens, we become dull reflectors of God's truth and light.
Remember Jonah, the prophet of God? He was like that. The prophet fled from the Lord's commands. God said go northeast; Jonah went southwest. In the midst of a great storm the pagan sailors confronted Jonah and commanded him to identify himself. Jonah said, "I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land" (Jon. 1:9).
The word for worship in that verse is often translated "fear." In this case it represents veneration for God. While running from God, Jonah said he worshiped the Lord who made the land and sea. Do you see the irony? We can certainly agree with author Edwin Good who wrote, "Jonah's theology is unexceptional, but like so much theology, it seems to make no difference to his action. We are certainly intended to perceive the incongruity between the prophet's confession of Yahweh as creator of the sea and his attempt to escape on the sea."
How often we do the same! We may not be escaping on a boat, but others see the inconsistency in us. It happens all the time—like when we thank God for His forgiveness and then refuse to extend it to others. It happens when we find ourselves as recipients of God's grace, but not givers. We've all been there.
Charles Spurgeon once wrote, "A man's life is always more forcible than his speech. When men take stock of him they reckon his deeds as dollars and his words as pennies. If his life and doctrine disagree, the mass of onlookers accepts his practice and rejects his preaching."
The world needs to witness consistency. There are too many dull reflectors walking around. The fog of inconsistency has prevented the one thing a reflector is intended to do—reflect. Let's allow God's truth to shine forth in both our talk and our walk. It was Jesus who said, "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). A bright light makes no noise, but nobody can miss seeing it. And so? Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.
About the Contributors
Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word and His grace. A pastor at heart, Chuck has served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. His leadership as president and now Chancellor Emeritus of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry. Chuck and his wife Cynthia, have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.