(Galatians 2: 11-13, NLT) 11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. 12 When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
Inconsistency of character can be very damaging…not only to our personal reputations and growth levels, but also to the spiritual lives of those over whom we have influence. Whether we believe it about ourselves or not, we absolutely have an impact on the people with whom we choose to spend our time, and we must be good stewards of this leverage that we hold in the lives of our friends and loved ones. There comes a point in life when we have to step beyond just thinking inside and about ourselves. We must evolve to a place where we recognize that there is a certain level of responsibility that comes with carrying the name of Christ…as His child, as His disciple, and as His ambassador to the world. We are representatives, and we must take care to always present Him in the best possible light that we can…because He is worthy of that. He is worthy of our best!
Consistency is no easy feat though. We are so used to our many masks that we wear, sometimes switching between them numerous times in one day! Those masks are our comfort zones, and we hide behind them because it is easy…and it feels good. Some of us hide our true feelings for fear of ridicule or persecution from others, some of us are private and standoffish in a crowd or new setting, and some of us are simply unsure and indecisive…we don’t know who we are or what we want! Whatever the reason may be, we all have the parts of our lives that we keep hidden…and we all pull out our different disguises to fit the various situations of our lives. As we grow in Christ, however, we must learn to tear down those barriers and become more consistent and transparent with others. You never know who is looking at you and watching what you are doing…especially when you live your life as a Christian! There is a fine line between privacy and hypocrisy, and if we are not careful we can step over into the realm of deception and insincerity and subsequently crumble the foundation of any influence that we may have established.
It may seem hard at first. The thought of being open to the judgement and criticism of others is often intimidating and somewhat scary, but as a Christian you have to bear it…because part of loving others is allowing them access to your heart and life. When others can see who you are, when they feel as if you are the same person in every area of your life, they will trust and respect what you say and your circle of influence will grow. And isn’t that the goal? Loving, influencing, and winning souls for the cause of Christ… He did His part…and is doing His part still. So now, we must pick up our own crosses, crucify our own flesh, and experience our own resurrection in Him…becoming new creations…growing, changing, and magnifying Him with our lives. It is no small thing. So…be mindful of your influence, and take care to never cause someone else who may be weaker than you to stumble and fall. Instead, make yourself available to others and work hard to get yourself on an even keel. After all, if God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, shouldn’t we too strive to be just as peaceful and fluid in our own lives? Let Him do the work in you, calming the storms and smoothing out the wrinkles, and He will be glorified and magnified by the words and deeds that are testified through your transparent and consistent life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I recognize that my inclination is to hide from others and to keep parts of my life protected and safe behind my barriers. I pray that You will do a work in me, and help me to cast those walls in my life down so that I am not hidden from view. Help me to become, instead, a bright light that will draw people to You in me. Thank You for Your grace as I grow. Amen.