Are we just ‘talking the talk’? or are we ‘walking the walk’ too?

Recently I’ve been challenged about how I live my life as a Christian. Questions that I’ve particularly been thinking about are; ‘How would people know I was a Christian?’, ‘Do I demonstrate this in my life?’, ‘Do I reflect Jesus?’ etc.

Tonight at Chapel we looked at a passage from [Romans 15:14-21] and this idea was running through my head once again. How do we show that we are Christians to people that don’t know us, and also to people that don’t know God? In vs. 20, Paul says “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” This made me think about my life – where in my life is a place where Christ is not known? and how can I share the gospel with those people? or more importantly, am I sharing the gospel with those people? 

In 1 John it talks about how people know that we are Christians by the way that we love one another. But sometimes I don’t think we truly reflect Christ in our relationships. Sometimes we get caught up in cliques, gossip, ‘bitching’, etc. and to those on the outside, that doesn’t show anything different from a non-Christian lifestyle! 

Dot, Calum, Robert and I also focused on what it meant to share the gospel in both word and deed. What does that mean for us? I stumbled across a quote that sums it up quite nicely: 

“The most effective preaching comes from those who embody the things they are saying. They are their message… Christians need to look like what they are talking about…” (John Poulton)

It is about ‘walking the walk’, as much as it is about ‘talking the talk’. We may say that we are a Christian, and talk about what it is that “makes up” a Christian, but do our lives reflect that? What good is it, talking to someone about how you are a Christian, sharing how it shapes and changes your life, if you then go out and get really drunk, or behave in a way that is not in line with the ‘Christianity’ you are talking about, which you are a part of for example? It is about becoming more like Christ in everything that we do. Its about putting God at the centre of all that we do and all that we are and making our whole lives an act of worship to Him. It’s all about word and deed going hand-in-hand.

So where are the areas in your lives where Christ is not known? and are you sharing him in those areas? Do our lives reflect the God that we love and the God that loves us and has changed (and continues to change) our lives? It is about helping and showing those people the God that believes in them, even if they don’t necessarily believe in Him…  

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Wait…Listen…Trust

I went to an Iona service at the Cathedral last night (led by my favourite purple-haired vicar!) and I was involved in some interesting discussions which posed me to think about these three things – waiting on God, listening to Him and trusting in Him. 

The passage was from Acts. 27:33-44. This we all decided was a bit of an odd passage and was hard to try and work it out without any context. But we focused on the idea of ‘the shipwreck’, not necessarily meant to be taken literally, but possibly to symbolise the ‘shipwrecks’ we go through in our lives. The bit that stuck out the most for me was how they decided to throw the wheat overboard rather than the prisoners. The centurion listened to Paul, and there must of been an element of trust there to do what Paul said because to throw the wheat instead of the prisoners would have been an unusual thing to do in those times. This made me think about who or what we listen to and put our trust in in our own lives…

Of course, the answer is God or should be at least. But I wonder how easy people find it to wait on God, to listen for Him speaking to us and to trust in Him completely, surrendering everything to him? I know I find it extremely hard! I become incredibly impatient, out of my comfort zone knowing that I don’t have control over things, and sometimes question whether God speaks me to at all? 

But we need to wait patiently on God, listening even more closely for Him to speak to us, and that can be a loud and clear message that is obvious from the outset, or it can be a tiny whisper, and we need to trust in Him completely, offering Him all that we have and all that we are, always responding to him with a ‘Yes, Lord’. 

The centurion listened and trusted Paul; Paul listened and trusted God. If we put God first we can’t go far wrong. He is our creator and our sustainer! He is all we need!