Thursday, November 09, 2006

[twbowes-devotions] Devotion: Behavior Will Confirm or Disprove Testimony

Behavior Will Confirm or Disprove Testimony

When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife. -- Genesis 26:8; English Standard Version

I styled myself a "tough guy" as a teenager. Whether I was or not, I don't know. This is what I do know; I didn't want anyone to really know me. I figured if they knew me, then they knew what sparked me and what hurt me. I figured if people knew what sparked me they could use me. I figured if people knew what would hurt me they would do just that. So, I was closed off. All of that to help you understand the following illustration.

We watched a movie, The Outsiders, in junior high during English class. It was based on a book by the same title written by S. E. Hinton. During the movie a poem (Nothing Gold Can Stay; Robert Frost) was read. I liked it a lot. A childish, school adversary was obviously watching me and saw that the poem moved me. He said, "You like poetry!" out loud, in front of everyone. Now, it's okay to like poetry, but the perception of a self-styled-tough-guy in the rural South hears the resounding, distinctive clang of the death knell if people think that it's true. I heard the chants coming from the future questioning my manhood. So, my intelligent response was, "Uh-unh! Shut-up!"

A few weeks later my English teacher picked up a book of a collection of poems from my book bag. She didn't say much about it, just nodded her head, put it back and walked away. I thought I'd cleverly hid it inside the cover of a western novel. I came into class a few weeks later and found a list of "recommended poets and poetry" sensitively turned face down on my desk. I guess we just can't hide who we really are.

That's what I call a secular story to highlight a spiritual truth. That's what today's verse is really all about too.

It's one thing for Isaac to say that Rebekah is his sister, but brothers and sisters don't act like that! Here's what happened: the verse tells us that Isaac and Rebekah had "been there a long time". At first everyone believed their testimony about the nature of their relationship. Suspicions began and later the fruit of the truth was fully realized. Abimelech saw Rebekah and Isaac interacting in a certain manner and he thought, "Nah, they are not siblings! Brothers and sisters just down act like THAT!" He confronted Isaac and the truth was told (Genesis 26:9).

The Lord Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit (Luke 6:44). That's a fact.

We can testify of something and we can play the part for a know, keep the facade believable...but, soon enough, the truth will be known. Behavior will always confirm or disprove testimony. If we don't get "caught" by people, we certainly will never fool God. If we don't get "found out" during our time on this planet, we will get exposed come Judgement Day. Fact.

The best thing we can do is to be honest with ourselves, with others and with God. I could produce a litany of examples in the realm of spiritual matters, but it's not necessary. We are either genuine or we are deceivers. Simple. I will list a couple of examples: how about people who play the religious game, but wouldn't know Christ if He walked up and held an offering plate beneath their nose one Sunday morning? Think there are any people like that around? How about people who claim to be "saved" but never produce the fruit of righteousness characteristic of one in Christ? Think that happens?

I've said it a thousand times (at least); BELIEF AFFECTS BEHAVIOR! We can say anything we want about anything we want to say it about; God, friends, work ethic, etc. The proof is in the proverbial pudding.

So, let us ask ourselves very deeply and sincerely today, "Does my walk match my talk?"

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Romans 12:1-2

No comments: