WALK THE TALK
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-2
It really seems like something that should be very easy to do for most of us. Holding true to the character of our words is something that we should never allow to lie in question. My father use to always say that you are only as good as your word. Those words continue to hold dear to my heart and remind me of the character and fortitude it takes to be a person of integrity. I guess I really don't remember when the world became so changed that a person's word was not their bond. I guess I still live in a naive world where I still believe in people and that they are really truthful about doing what they said they will do. But I also know that there are a lot of people who struggle with the idea of trying to make everyone happy and content and letting them hear what they want to hear with no depth to the promises that are made. I think that we live in a time where truth only lasts as long as we are in sight of the person, and then it is ok to do what we really intended to do instead holding true to our words. I just find it hard to believe that we have fallen so far from being real and truthful to others because we are now willing to assume that they are definitely not being truthful to us. A little far off from the do unto others reminder I was taught as a child. It is a bold person that walks the talk and sticks to their moral foundations in this time and age, and maybe we need to back up and really start reforming that foundation again if we are truly wanting to see the transformation we all desire.
But to be honest I really do struggle in the trust category. I still take a person at their word and I continue to hope and pray that they will do what they say they will do. And I also mean that they will do it in the timely manner that it was said they will do it. I am not saying that many of us may have a life long goal to be in better shape physically and spiritually, and I know that takes time. What I am saying is that there are many things in this world that are time sensitive and we have become the type of procrastinators that can get the job done
eventually... instead of making it the priority that it was meant to be when we made the promise with good intentions. Two quotes that have stuck with me over the years both have to do with good intentions. The first comes from Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta. Andy said, "Direction not intention determines our destination." That saying has stuck with me throughout many years of my personal ministry to remind that I have to be a person that is dedicated to the direction God has led me. I have to be willing to step out in faith to obtain the goals and visions that God has placed in my heart and work hard to accomplish those goals for the kingdom. Intentions are best left out of the equation because of the hopes and dreams that will never take root if we are unable to put them into action with the purpose they were intended to accomplish. The second saying is a little more harsh. It says, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." And this one really does stick out to me more based on the current state of the world. There may be a lot of things that we say we intended to do one day, but I promise that if you are not able to close the deal on your salvation, then don't be surprised where you may end up spending eternity. I have heard many people who had great intentions to get their lives right with God once they were at a certain stage of their lives. The hurtful truth is that they were never able to reach that stage because they were unwilling to commit and walk with God.
As we look at the words of Paul to the people of Thessalonica, we see the desire of Paul to want to be in their presence and help them through these troubled times. Paul recognizes that they were struggling with sinful desires and continues to encourage them to walk on the foundational teachings of Christ. Paul is challenging them to step out of their old lifestyle and step in to the grace filled life of Christ. He knows that they have heard the message preached by the disciples and have experienced the truth of Christ rising from the dead. All Paul is asking them to do is live out the teaching that they have heard. Paul is calling them to the carpet to be Christ followers and not just live a life of good intentions. Living the life of a christian is not a once or twice a week scenario. It is a calling to live our lives from this day forward trying to follow the character and integrity of Christ. Yes it means that there needs to be an adjustment in our visions and our directions. But it also means that we have to learn the word follow-through and be able to speak with truth when we commit to being a part of something we have chosen to step in. Students and parents, lessons on integrity and character will carry you through more struggles in your life than lies and half-promises. You will see that when faced with adversity, people will turn to you because of the truth and trust that you have exuded in other areas of your life. Parents please understand that the first lessons that your students learn on integrity and character are from the actions that they witness in the home. Students please realize that your ability to build integrity and character with your friends starts in the sandbox. Paul knew and so do we, that we know and understand the difference between right and wrong. The difficulty is living it out EVERY day of our lives and not just picking and choosing which day we are gong to live like Christ and which day we are going to live like the world.
In closing today, I just want to continue to encourage us all to look in the mirror this week and think about what you see and what others see in you. I know that we are our own worst critics, and I know that we have ALL made mistakes that we feel has damaged our character. But it does not mean that we cannot realize that God is there to help lift us up and redirect
our path. If you truly want to be a person that walks their talk, then it starts with the first step today. It means that you may have to apologize and ask forgiveness. It means that it may take a while to stop doing some of the things that have now become bad habits. It means that you have a direction now and you make the conscious decision to walk in the LIGHT and not be surrounded by darkness anymore. You are the best you, you can be, but realize that You are also the ONLY YOU God created you to be. We all have the choice on the type of people we are going to be in this world, and I know that I still have a long way to go to reach perfection in Christ. But as I have said many times before, I am striving each day to get a little better in hopes of living a life of character and integrity to the students and families I have the honor and privilege to walk along side of each day. I promise you that it is possible to be a person who can walk the talk. I promise that each of us can change from the person that world has defined us to be. We just have to be willing to step back and stop conforming to what the world wants us to be or look like and live into the beautiful creation God has called us to be in the world. It takes one step... are you willing to take it starting today until eternity?