Bible Reading: John 7:16-24
One of the characteristics that will most attract people to Jesus is a life that is consistently righteous, kind and full of love.
Jesus challenged the religious leaders on the basis of their inconsistency. They followed God’s commandment through Moses and circumcised each male child on his eighth day [Leviticus 12:3]. If the eighth day of the child’s life fell on the Sabbath, then the child was circumcised on the Sabbath in order that the Law of Moses should not be broken. It was perfectly acceptable to do that, and Jesus is not critical of them. However, He is critical of them because of their anger towards Him because he healed a man on the Sabbath. He is almost certainly referring to the man at the Pool of Bethesda who had been infirmed for thirty-eight years [John 5:1-9]. What is the difference between them circumcising a young child on the Sabbath and Him healing an infirmed man on the Sabbath?
Consistency means that we live a life that is single-minded and without hypocrisy. It means that the way we live and the words we speak do not conflict. If we say, “Yes,” then we mean, “Yes,” and if we say “No.” then we mean, “No.” It means that if we say that we have faith, then we prove it by our actions. If our actions contradict our words then we are inconsistent, our testimony is damaged, and people would find it difficult to trust us. To live a life of pretence and say that we are trusting Jesus is to be totally inconsistent.
The great missionary to China, Isobel Kuhn, spoke of her Christian life before she fully surrendered to God, in the words of an old hymn:
“Once I thought I walked with Jesus,
Yet such changeful feelings had;
Sometimes trusting, sometimes doubting,
Sometimes joyful, sometimes sad.”
It was a life of inconsistency, but as she surrendered everything to Jesus she spoke of trusting Him and a peace that she had never really known before.
When we lived in Indonesia I once saw a man standing on two rowing boats. He had one foot on one boat and the other foot on the other boat. The problem was that the two boats were only tied together at one end. They gradually moved apart and he fell between the two boats and into the water. It was humorous but a good picture of someone living a double life.
God is a God of consistency and He expects us to be consistent in the way we live.
In what way is God totally consistent?
Why are inconsistencies in a person’s life a hindrance to Christian testimony? In what way are hypocrisy and double-mindedness pictures of inconsistency?
Can you identify personally to the testimony of Isobel Kuhn in the way that she lived her Christian life before she fully surrendered to Jesus?