Belief, Mindset & Behavior

Orthodoxy & Orthopraxy

Belief determines mindset—mindset determines behavior.

That simple statement has far-reaching ramifications that we seldom comprehend. We often miss the connection between our belief system and how we conduct our lives.

Orthodoxy is right belief—orthopraxy is right behavior. Orthodoxy is meaningless drivel if it is not backed up by action—the flipside is that orthopraxy requires God-centered motivation.

Believers in Jesus Christ—known as the church—should always strive to be doctrinally sound because orthodoxy is crucial. However, if we are flippant or haphazard in how what we believe plays out in our lives, then we’ve missed the point.

Orthodoxy without orthopraxy is what the religious establishment in the time of Jesus maintained—cold facts sanctimoniously delivered by hearts that remained untouched by measures of grace and mercy.

Jesus had many run-ins with these passionate but misguided guardians of religion. Near the end of his life, he had a confrontation with them that echoes across the ages: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

The law, as laid out by Moses, was intended to be a framework of belief which would shape mindset and effect behavior. Once the law was enacted, it didn’t take long for human nature to reconstruct the intent into burdens. By the time Jesus arrived on the scene the law had become a barrier of rules and regulations that isolated individuals from God.

Jesus realigned perspective. His ministry made it clear that right belief is essential, but its purpose is to result in right behavior. He never used these words, but most certainly, his example proclaimed that orthodoxy without orthopraxy is useless.

Jesus—God Incarnate—embodied compassion and mercy, giving us a pattern to follow, but as history proves again and again, we have thick skulls and stubborn streaks. We humans have an endless capacity to distort and pervert spiritual truth. Not long after Jesus ascended to heaven, there were those who dismissed grace to teach bondage.

Paul of Tarsus, a theologian and tentmaker, constantly came into conflict with that contingent. He went eyeball to eyeball with them, never flinching or backing down. Read afresh his admonishment to the Galatians.

Galatians 1:6-10 - NIV

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!

As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Crackpot Theology

Many philosophies and religious systems masquerade as truth, but we need to be careful. We should beware any proposition that encourages us to place our faith in anything or anyone except Christ.

If we succumb to that fallacy our faith will bring harm instead of healing. Tragically some people have used Christ’s name and are using Christ’s name to peddle their counterfeit forms of faith to people, poisoning those who genuinely seek to experience God.

There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the machinations of the human heart. As false teachers are present nowadays, so they were in the first-century.

In Galatia, some were preaching that faith in Christ was not enough—their contention was that Gentile believers had to jump through all the hoops of Jewish law and customs, especially circumcision.

This group was referred to as Judaizers. Paul adamantly opposed them. He wasn’t willing to concede an inch. He called them agitators, and said that if they were truly convinced that circumcision was a necessity, he wished they’d go all the way and castrate themselves.

Paul didn’t mince words or sugarcoat his views. And evidently he had no inclination to ever placate legalists who twisted the truth about Christ—they claimed to follow Christ but boisterously denied that his atoning work on the cross was sufficient for salvation.

The Judaizers had the Galatian believers all bound up in wrong belief which resulted in a wrong mindset which produced wrong behavior. The works-based theology was screwing people up and pushing them away from the unmerited favor and promise of the cross.

That’s exactly what crackpot theology does—wrong belief always results in a wrong mindset, which always produces wrong behavior. Crackpot theology is any teaching that takes away from the great good news of the gospel or adds conditions to it.

Freedom & Responsibility

The gospel is an offense to custom, tradition, and human-centric logic. It starts with the premise that we humans are sinners who desperately need a Savior, which goes against the humanistic assertion that people are basically good. It also chisels away at pride and our inflated sense of self-sufficiency.

Salvation is a free gift that cannot be earned, which really irritates our independent streak. The gospel is grace, it’s all about God loving humanity—loving all creation—loving individuals with an unconditional love.

The gospel is defined in God’s Word with astounding simplicity: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

The source of grace is God—life is obtained through death. We trust in the God who loves us and died for us so that we might live for him.

When we embrace the gospel we participate in spiritual freedom. As with all forms of freedom—social, political, economic—with freedom comes responsibility. Freedom and responsibility cannot be disconnected.

What grade do you give yourself as an ambassador of Christ?

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As recipients of the freedom that comes from God’s grace, we have some responsibility—living up to our responsibility is not optional. We are to be relentless grace-givers. Fulfilling that role is summed up by the word ambassador, which has serious principles to be practically applied.

Consider Paul’s words to believers at Corinth anew: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Ambassadors actively work on behalf of their country—as though God were making his appeal through us. Our citizenship is in heaven—we are ambassadors of the king of glory.

We are responsible to use the time, talents, and treasures God has given us to follow his lead and commands, living out the overwhelming reality that the gospel is for everyone.

If anyone preaches something different—whether they do so in word or deed, then they are spewing crackpot theology, and we can never ignore or condone it. Just like Paul, we should have a zero-tolerance policy for crackpot theology.

Belief determines mindset—mindset determines behavior. By virtue of being practitioners of God’s grace, we must be willing to do whatever is necessary to be faithful ambassadors.

If our mindset is entrenched in grace, then we will continually behave as grace-givers—if that occurs, then in our corner of this fallen world, it will be as though God were making his appeal through us.

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Comments 46 comments

matt6v33 profile image

matt6v33 6 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

Nice Work, on this one Ken! "Take yet another Bow"! :)

Keep Going! For I too, am now able to return to this site, and have once again, placed my "Pen to Paper", and would always encourage you, to take a minute out! For as we both have learned "Knowledge Is Power"!

In Christian Charity,


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks, Jim. I appreciate your words of encouragement. You're a great cheerleader. Blessings.

Chaplain Donna H. 6 years ago


Beautiful words, comprehensive and full of truth and grace. Thanks and blessings to you.


RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida


Wonderful information, insightful, brilliantly written.

I agree that "Belief determines mindset—mindset determines behavior" in probably most situations. I say most because there are always exceptions to the general rule. I also wonder if "cognitive dissonance" fits in here somewhere; this is where individuals may behave in contraction to their own belief system which causes mental and spiritual disorganization. Just a fleeting thought!

Great hub that I enjoyed reading very much Ken. Thank you. You are truly an exceptional writer.

Forever His,

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

As always, well written with 'able passion' Ken. Will you ever write here of the Book of Enoch... Moses's grandfather? Take care.

CMCastro profile image

CMCastro 6 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

Your words are expressed well and you truly have God's gift of teaching, and I will review this hub well. I know God has a mission in my life, and I know that I express myself best through "ACTION". Religious people, to me, can be lazy, so the scripture, "Faith without works is dead" also applies to your message. Thanks KEN. I am a little sponge wanting to soak up more!

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Great job Ken. Too often the message contains enough words to confuse. If the message is not brought in the faith of the Golden Rule it may as well be noise. When Jesus comes the Golden Rule will rule. Every politician that speaks with this rule on their tongues should be dismissed. Ther are "no sides" for Christians but to obey God. I pledge allegiance to the US- after my allegiance to my fellow man -and after God!

Darin Simms 6 years ago


I really love your style and ability to take difficult issues and communicate about them clearly. Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy are correctly defined semantically, but I think there is a piece missing. When we say "right belifs" it is to say that the beliefs are approved beliefs, in this case approved by the church. The beliefs conform to a particular theological or religious opinion or doctrine. It does not mean that these beliefs are "correct," "true," or "inerrant."

There are, for example, Orthodox Muslims. Their beliefs would not be in line with Orthodox Christianity. The Eastern Orthodox Church does not share all the same beliefs as the Western Protestant Church, if there is such a thing. Yet, both would hold to a form of orthodoxy that would be in conflict with the other.

I say this just to comment that not everything that is unorthodox is bad, evil, or sinful. Orhtodoxy is not static. It evolves over time.


allpurposeguru profile image

allpurposeguru 6 years ago from North Carolina

I'm bookmarking this masterpiece so I can easily find it again. Ken R. Abell. Yes he R!

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Good hub - enjoyed it and know others will as well. Looking forward to being introduced to more of your writings. I'm a fan!

Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 6 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Thank you Ken. Belief and behavior go hand in hand. Thats why we are encouraged to watch our character, based on who we keep company with. Thanks for a great write. Again.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Donna - Thanks for your words of encouragement. Blessings.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

RevLady - Thank you for your kind affirmation. And also for that "cognitive dissonance" idea. That'll make me think & thinking is always a good thing. Blessings.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Pearldiver - Thank you. I never know what'll get trapped in my head that'll need worked out in writing. Blessings.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

CMCastro - Thank you for your kind & generous words. They are much appreciated. Blessings.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Micky Dee - Thanks for stopping in & sharing. And for your always encouraging words. And a big AMEN to where our allegiance must truly reside. Blessings.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Darin - Thanks for sharing. I agree. I simply shorthanded it, since it is in the Christian Living category, I assumed/presumed Christian Orthodoxy...or really more accurately from my viewpoint, Biblical Orthodoxy. Blessings.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

allpurposeguru - Thank you for the cheerleading & for bookmarking it. Blessings.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

vocalcoach - Thank you for your kind words & for signing on. I'm glad to meet you here. Blessings.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Deborah Demander - Thank you. Great point about the company we keep. Blessings.

bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Good lessons in your hub.If it wasn't for my belief in God, there is NO WAY carnally I could live and behave as Christ taught.Some say they can. I can't. I have to believe first, then I can rightly behave.So I definitely agree. Right belief = right behavior.

A M Werner profile image

A M Werner 6 years ago from West Allis

Ken, your skill as a writer, your ability to bring out the pure unadulturated Word of the Creator in creative and interesting fashions amazes me. This hub is so precise and honest. It strikes at the very core of Christianity. To get beyond simply believing is the struggle within us all, our true battle in life. Keep up the good and faithful work. Peace.

Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND

what a great teaching - and you make things so easy to understand. Fantastic hub!

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

bayoulady - Thanks for stopping in & sharing. Peace & blessings to you.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

AM - Thank you for your kind, generous & very encouraging words. Blessings to you.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thank you, Cari Jean.

heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

Crack pot theology, funny...great picture to go with it.

Boy when I looked at your grade scale, I really stopped and thought about this. Afraid to try and grade myself, if I compare to Bible days, or try to even imagine my grade through God's eyes. OOOOoooo I feel I fall short, I need to spend more time in His word and in prayer, and be in more tune with Him! Thank you:)

Saintatlarge profile image

Saintatlarge 6 years ago from Canada

Mindsets... is not a word you here spoken much from the pulpit. Understanding of them is an even lessor subject. As you pointed out how Jesus exposed the mindset of the Pharisee. Romans 12.2, Paul encourages the renewing of the mind and as a previous Pharisee himself he knew how damaging living with the same "old man" mindsets could be. We come to Christ for a redeeming process and somehow miss this very critical step and plod along for years as Joyce Myers would say, "With stinkin' thinkin'".

We are given a new heart, a new spirit, but the activation of the mind is left up to us... how we think ultimatly leads to how we live out what and who we think about. Great hub Ken as per usual, Blessings St.L

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

Ken, this article sounds like it should be mailed to everyone in Congress. Our founding fathers knew of the importance that religion played in behavior and thus interwove religion heavily into the belief structure of this country. Now we see politicians, in the name of political correctness, attempting to or removing any religious reference from everything from the Constitution on down. We also see responsibility and accountability in terms of behavior of our elected officials all too often taking the low road in the process. Thanks for a very informative write and a good one too! WB

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

heart4theword - Thanks for sharing. We all fall far short, which is why GRACE is such an amazing & constant thing. Blessings.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Saintatlarge - Thanks for your good & thoughtful words. Much appreciated. Adds to the Hub. Blessings.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Wayne - Wow. I never thought of it from that perspective. Thanks for sharing that insight. It'll keep me thinking for awhile. Blessings.

cristina327 profile image

cristina327 6 years ago from Manila

Great hub with great insights to ponder on. Thank you for sharing this timely reminder. Blessings to you and your family. Regards.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

cristina327 - Thank you for your kind words. Blessings.

pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

Kudos to you Ken, excellent poignant read. Such clarity, I simply loved it. Many who belong to stiff neck belief systems fail to realize that the word must be practiced.

Not just in one ear and out the other on Sunday to reappear as the same old sinner on Monday. Excellent work my friend.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

pmccray - Thank you for your strong words of affirmation. Much appreciated. Blessings.

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

I've enjoyed your points of view here, Mr. Abell, and particularly appreciated the portion of text on Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

mythbuster - Thank you for stopping in & sharing. Glad you enjoyed the visit.

jasper420 6 years ago

very intresting thanks for the info realy this was a great topic

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

jasper420 - Thank you. Your kind & encouraging words are much appreciated.

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

A brilliant Hub! I enjoyed reading it. Ambassadors. Yes. Orthodoxy may be common but orthopraxy not so much. Love your premise and your execution of the concept is superb. Thank you for the good read.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

You're welcome, James. Thank you for thoughtful & encouraging comments. Blessings.

UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 5 years ago from Canada

A message so needed in our secular christianity. I was encouraged and challenged by yur hub Ken. The "church" today often scares me in its complete acceptance of godlessness. It's like we don't miss what has been missing for a very long time. We "think" God is in the house yet His glory lifted a long time agao. does start with me...I can't say I will if you will...I just must look at Jesus and say, I will. And let His word change me in the deepest reaches of my heart AND thinking. Bless you Ken, this is what I needed to read this morning. Thank you for growing as an ambassador for Jesus. Blessings to you Ulrike Grace

coffeesnob 5 years ago

Ken, this was excellent work and a much needed message. God bless and keep you and thanks for your work


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

UlrikeGrace - Thank you. I'm glad you found this to be helpful & encouraging. Blessings.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

coffeesnob- You're welcome. Thank you for stopping in & sharing. Blessings.

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