I came across an interesting quote yesterday in David Hesselgrave’s book Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally. Hesslegrave states that “there is an orthodoxy of lips and also an orthodoxy of life. Orthodox talking must be accompanied by orthodox walking.”
There is to be a distinct connection between beliefs and behaviors. A perfect example of this is seen in the Galatians 2 incident between Peter and Paul concerning Peter’s alienating himself from the Gentiles in Antioch lest he be looked negatively upon by the Jews. This incident took place despite Peter’s personal experience with Cornelius, a Gentile and his agreement of the Jerusalem Council’s decision to accept Gentile converts.
Paul shows that Peter was not walking according to gospel teachings. His professed beliefs were not matching his behavior. This is what I appreciate about the Scriptures. They show the good, the bad, and the ugly side of humanity including the disciples’ behaviors as well. I can identify with their weaknesses. We often catch ourselves judging other people’s behaviors without taking our own belief/behavior conflicts into consideration.
We like Peter are tempted to care more about what other people will think of us than what God thinks of us. Our behaviors validate the strength of our beliefs. If we truly believe something to be true then we will act on it.
Another lesson we learn from the Galatians 2 passage is that others are watching us and are influenced by our behaviors. Gal. 2:13 says, “Then the other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was influenced to join them in their hypocrisy.” People are really watching. What are they seeing?