Behavioral Heresy

On the way to pick up my son from college, I listened to a podcast by Eric Ludy. He briefly mentioned an intriguing concept he labeled behavioral heresy. Since becoming a follower of Jesus, I have loved to read and study the Bible. Truly, I do not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from His mouth. I want to the word of God to be my plumb line to measure my life against His enduring truth.  A plumb line was a measuring tool that allowed someone to determine if a wall was straight. I was going to write it was a method used long ago, but my friend Judy traveled to Peru a few of years ago and said her team used a plumb line on their construction project.

The New Testament epistles are full of warnings to the church to watch out for false teachings and heresy. However, in hearing the phrase, behavioral heresy, I was challenged to consider if I am as careful with how I live as how diligently I study. Remember the old saying, “You may be the only Bible they ever read.” Long before that Paul wrote to Titus that we are to adorned with the doctrine of Christ.

We have all know people who claim to be Christians, yet their lives belie this assertion. Years ago I knew a man, Bud, who cursed, lusted, was mean to his wife, but he said he had been saved as a boy and could explain the gospel and other important doctrines of Christianity. As a young believer this really confounded me. As my husband says, “The audio did not match the video.” Bud’s behavior was an extreme dichotomy between his stated beliefs and his way of living, but we have observed others that leave our spirits disquieted. Many who identify themselves as Christians stir up controversy and provoke unfruitful discussions. Some in leadership may perform at church having spiritual fruit appearing fully ripe and sweet while at home the fruit is immature and bitter.

peacockBut this isn’t those other people, it is about my life and what someone may presume about God by watching me. How do I respond to difficulties? What words and tone of voice do I use when I am irritated? Do I let my flesh/emotions rule my decisions or am I continually led by the Holy Spirit?  Knowing I can never do anything apart from His power working through me, I pray that the word of Christ will dwell richly within me and that in whatever I do in word of deed, all will be done in the name (and character) of Jesus Christ our Lord. Colossians 3:16-17.

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