Ancient Qumran lamp from time of King Herod’s reign
9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
~ Ac 19:9
Christianity, especially in the Book of Acts, is often called “The Way” (KJV usually says “that way”). We are told to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within us, but how will anyone know of this hope (or even care) if we are not living it? It must be based upon beliefs, but it is the behavior that is evident. Yes, it is important to believe in keeping the Sabbath, but what good is it if we are not doing it?
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
~ Jas 1:22
It is important that we understand the importance of walking the walk rather than not simply talking the talk.
Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.
~ Unknown (often misattributed to Francis of Assisi)
This does not mean, however, that you are to never use words. Obviously, you must use words when asked questions. Those questions might come from when you ask for time off of work or you explain to your child’s teacher that your son or daughter must miss some school.
I am not suggesting that we start going door-to-door, get on a street corner and start preaching fire and brimstone, hassle people who simply going about their daily business or any of the other stuff normally associated with “evangelism”. That’s not getting the word out; that’s trying to cram the word down people’s throats.
However, it does not mean you cannot bring up the subject. How and when it is appropriate is certainly a matter for debate. In the end, though, we are to be a light to the world. The old saw that “A light makes no noise unless it is broken” is nonsensical because that is not the analogy. Salt does not shine light, and it is in the same passage, so we must watch our analogies.
Effective communication will not occur, however, if it is backed up by hypocrisy. We must live what we preach — literally.
This means it must start, first and foremost, with humility. If I were to have to choose one trait out of all that a Christian must possess that is more important than all others, I would state it must be humility.
You might be asking, “Shouldn’t that be love?” No, humility is more important than even love.
“How can you say that? Jesus said the greatest two commandments are love!”
Yes, He did. However, you can learn to love. You must choose humility. Furthermore, you will never ever learn any of the other godly characteristics unless you are first humble! Without humility, you’ll never want to learn! Even repentance, the first step just after learning the truth, requires humility.
Satan is the king of pride. His way always stresses the path of the arrogant. He wants to set up himself as supreme ruler in every aspect, and those who do his bidding tend towards the same tendencies. It should be no surprise. For the characteristics of those you choose to associate yourself with tend to rub off on you.
That’s why it is important not only to be humble but to take care of to whom you humble yourself before. It had better be God!
Yet, it is a peculiar trait of carnal nature that wants to take the easy way out. People want to follow a strong leader because they are essentially lazy. They want to be told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. In fact, I’m convinced that cults flourish for a time simply because people want someone else to even do their thinking for them. There are plenty of arrogant men who would swoop in to take advantage of such people and lead them like lemmings to their destruction.
It should be obvious to everyone that beating one’s chest and proclaiming, “We are Philadelphian!” not only does not make it so, but it proves a severe lack of humility. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise us that those that do and turn around pointing the finger at everyone else calling them “Laodicean” are the very people and organizations that do not have the love of God in them.
It is not by coincidence that in the midst of the message to Philadelphia that Christ speaks of the synagogue of Satan. It is the spirit of love vs hate.
If we are to be examples to others even in this life, we must ensure that we ourselves are following the right path, and not following the path of arrogant men. We must be humble, but we must be humble towards God. We must not only be humble, but we must seek out those who are also humble in spirit and be an example — as a group — to the world.
We are training to be leaders in the World Tomorrow. We must ensure we are learning proper leadership today, right now!