How the Christian Walk Compares with the Talk

Christian Symbols by Gerbilo
Christian Symbols by Gerbilo | Source

The Christian walk is really about character, not catechism. Nowhere is this fact presented more powerfully than in the Epistle of James which Stuart E. Lease, D.D. college professor and pastor, describes as:

  • ethics versus religion
  • living versus learning
  • walk versus talk.

Every Christian should take his letter personally and evaluate how they measure up to real Christianity.

Following, are six of questions quoted from James' letter in the New Living Translation. The questions deal with issues which may disprove Christianity in the life of Christians. Why do they exhibit these behaviors? When will they ever learn?


1) Fights

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? (4:1)

Christians fighting among themselves is the most un-Christian conduct; and James explains why it happens. At the core of their being, some Christians are still selfish, still anxious to satisfy their lusts. Their self-centeredness controls them.

They lie, backbite, insult, threaten, compete and instigate fights to get what they want. Well, are they still Christians? They confuse Christians and non-Christians alike. When their desire for God and godliness supersedes every other desire, they will stop fighting. They will be loving and supportive.

What a great impact Christianity could have if Christians put their personal peeves aside and focus on uniting to represent Christ!

2) Criticism

God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? (4:12)

"Listen much and speak little"  (James 1:19).  Photo by Petr Kratochvil
"Listen much and speak little" (James 1:19). Photo by Petr Kratochvil | Source

It is so easy to judge, that people—especially Christians—do it all the time.

The problem is that human knowledge is limited. People judge the actions they see; God judges intentions which only He could see. His judgment considers the maturity of the person, how the past affects his conduct, to what extent his fears drive him or hold him back. Who can judge correctly without being privy to this type of information?

James says that criticizing and judging other people is criticizing and judging God (4:11). What a serious charge! It is wise to back off and let God be God. His grace which is working on behalf of the judging Christian is working on the behalf of everyone else.

3) Discrimination

If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives? (2:3, 4)

Jesus loved and respected people equally. He showed compassion to the children when His disciples would have turned them away; He affirmed women when other people thought He was wasting time; He hung out with sinners when church leaders thought that He was making a mistake.

Christ’s followers know better than to consider one person less than the other because of social status, skin color, disability or neighborhood. James says it clearly: “But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin.”(2:9)

It is a shame that while people who profess no godliness have overcome prejudice, some Christians still need to learn the equal value of the people God made!

4) Arrogance

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? (4:13, 14)

Imagine planning the week’s schedule without involving God! This is not a bashing against self-confidence or positive thinking, but about denying the need for God.

After some people experience success, they forget that the ability to succeed comes from God. They begin to boast of what they can achieve based on what they have already done. The Christian should never become so self-assured.

In his everyday affairs—at home, at school, at work, at play, the Christian walk must match his talk of humility and complete surrender to God. This is the attitude that glorifies God instead of self.

5) Hypocrisy

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? (2:14)

Hypocrisy is profession without practice. No wonder, James insists that the Christian’s life must show evidence of his faith. He has been criticized by some Bible scholars who think that he is undermining Paul’s teaching that “a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

However, James cites the examples of Abraham and Rahab whose works did not justify them, but demonstrated the faith by which they were justified. “So you see,” James offers, “faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”

”Faith is the root, good works are the fruits” ”states the Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary. Christian attitudes and actions are expected to express without words, “I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” (2: 17, 18)

Christianity is visiting the orphans and widows (James 1:27).  Photo by Fidel C. Hart
Christianity is visiting the orphans and widows (James 1:27). Photo by Fidel C. Hart | Source

6) Compromise

You adulterous people, don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? (4:4)

Bible commentaries advise that James is not accusing his audience of actual sexual sin. He labels them adulterous because they, “instead of loving God, whom they ought to love with all their hearts and souls, set their affections upon the world, and the things of it.”

This is not about shunning people who do not share the same faith; it is about making it clear whose side they are on. “Submit to God,” James warns (4: 7, 8) and be not double-minded. There may be damaging compromise if:

  • If a Christian can spend a day without personal devotion and not miss it;
  • If she does not crave and enjoy fellowship with godly people;
  • If her worldly friends claim her as part of their crowd;
  • If people express surprise when she says that she is a Christian;
  • If there is a whispering in her conscience which frustrates her.

Where Do We Start?

Christian Conduct Poll

Which of these behaviors do you think presents the greatest struggle for the Christian?

See results without voting

"Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes of Christ's life on earth, to walk where He trod, to look upon the lake beside which He loved to teach, and the hills and valleys on which His eyes so often rested. But we need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus.

"We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps." - Ellen White

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Comments 63 comments

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

a wonderful share MsDora I do feel that Hypocrisy.. is the greatest curse for mosr Christians.. just wanted to get your take on it Frank


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Excellent work here. I learned, I enjoyed and I can use this in my life. Thank you


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Frank, it may just be, since all are guilty of hypocrisy to some extent. But again, we do not have all the facts concerning why people do what they do. Struggles are personal and some are weak where others are strong. The Christian has to submit every aspect of his life to God.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Eric, so good to see you. Glad to write for your enjoyment. Thanks!


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Good morning MsDora, After all the bickering seen recently here on hp, your article here is at most, right on time. Every Christian in the world should read it if they want to be ready for the coming of Christ. This article was written as if God guided your hand Himself. Your spirit is very much in close touch... with God! I Thank God for your being here :-) Voted up, up and away. You deserve all the accolades today!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Word, thank you for your very kind comment. Usually, I myself need what I write, and I pray that other people benefit. I appreciate your support.


RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 2 years ago from United States

I voted "criticism" in your poll as the greatest struggle, because that is what I see so often in my world. People can't stop themselves from criticizing me (and others in their circle of friends) - for their faith, their personal choices, the lifestyle, etc.

Our pastor asked our little Bible study group of 10 ladies this question 3 weeks ago. Do you think you are being helpful to others when you criticize others, pointing out someone's faults or choices? Do you think Our Lord would see that as being a good Christian?

He went to each one of us for an answer.

I answered something like this. I forget my exact words. I often speak while I'm thinking so that I rarely remember exactly how I phrase things.

I think criticism stems from not accepting others as they are. Criticism breeds contempt and hate, hence it is impossible to keep an clean heart as a Christian with so much condemnation living inside us putting down the ways and choices of others.

If we criticize others often - i.e. condemning them for something - our real thoughts dwell on our insides so that we pro-ject it to our outside. Sometimes you can just see "opinions" on people's faces before they even open their mouth.

We take on that which we condemn - it shows and comes across in our thoughts, actions, and ultimately in our outward appearance - what others see when they look at us. Criticizing others makes one turn ugly inside and out.

If we look to ourselves before we criticize and find we are imperfect (which we are), we should hold our tongues. Words of criticism hurts others, and does nothing to promote good fellowship. One can't think they are a good Christian if they intentionally set out to put others down through criticizing them for their choices.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Bravo, Dora. Bravo. That's all I need to say about this topic.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Rachel, I agree with your every word. Criticism is very damaging, and we may not now to what extent. We just have to control our tongues.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Bill, thank you. I appreciate your one word.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I voted criticism. Often others are looked down at for not being the same and that really gets to me.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Devika, there are others who chose the same thing. Must be something there. Thank you.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

I have to agree and disagree Dora. We shouldn't be running around putting our Christian brothers or sisters down for sure; but if we see them doing wrong or offending us we should go to them and discuss it with them. We can't harbor ill feelings or let our sister go in a direction we know is wrong and I think the bible teaches that. To say to each his own is not from the bible and I think that is the attitude of many who call themselves Cristian and to me that is like saying go to hell if you want to; I don't care. We are to encourage each other but not in today's standards but the bible's. Our Lord got really mad once didn't He and told off some people really good. I think most call that righteous indignation and I think it can happen to Christians just as it did Jesus to see someone go so against what is right. How can we keep quiet if we represent God?


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

I do agree with your concept though; we should do what we say. People can talk a good talk and then live another way. Forgot to add you always bring such good food for thought and couldn't retrieve my comment. Always great articles. ^+


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 2 years ago from West Virginia

I was a bit leery of reading this as all I have read from so many others is constant criticism and arrogance from their standpoint. I could not pick just one. As I read these things I also thought of my thoughts and action in all of this. I came to the conclusion that I do not judge and I do let God do all that. I also do not spout dirty names at people when they have their own beliefs set by their own stage in their life and what they have experienced. I, on the other hand have been called names and judged and criticized and it hurts. They say words do not hurt, but I can assure you that they do.

I did read all of it and the comments too before I left this comment.

Wonderful hub with a good message for all of us, believers and non-believers alike.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

I think that the most difficult thing for Christians is compromise. There are so many half-truths floating around that we easily fall for them. It is important for us to see these for what they are, and that is ways to be deceived. The philosophies of men are often mixed with truths from the scriptures. Our ability to discern where to draw the line will determine our ability to continue our walk with God.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Jackie, I appreciate your comment. I am all for rebuking non-Christian conduct in a Christian; it is the flip side of encouragement. If you understood anything I wrote to oppose that, it is not my intention.

Perhaps, you refer to my sentence about backing off. People who have a prophetic gift will say something because it is their duty and they are in order. However, after they discuss with the wrongdoer, and deliver their message, they may want to give the Spirit some room.

I think we're on the same page with our accountability toward one another. We are our brother's/sister's keeper.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Lady Guinevere, yes, words do hurt. That understanding as well as resisting the temptation to say anything despite the hurt it causes, comes with maturity. At the end of the day, we are primarily responsible for representing God even to fellow believers.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Denise, the message in your last sentence is valid. It means that we have to maintain our relationship with God, so He can give us that discernment. Thank you.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I enjoyed your perspective and voted hypocrisy. We have many sad examples of it, in the media and otherwise. This was an intriguing and well written hub.


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 2 years ago

I would have to say that criticism is the greatest struggle. I thank you for this your for this article. Insightful.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Flourish, thank you for your input. Glad you enjoyed the article. I agree that hypocrisy is a big one.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Torrilynn, happy that you came by. Criticism is among the top struggles Christians have. We're all still growing. Thanks for your input.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

MsDora,

I think every Christian should read this wonderfully written hub here, as a reminder to us all that we are to look different that this world looks. If we cannot love the least of these, then we do not know love, and as His Word tells us, we do not know God. I think all of the above behaviors you have listed are great struggles that harm our witness to others. We really do need to fully understand who we are in Christ and what that means. It is never a good thing when Christians start bickering over things, and it is, unfortunate, the one thing that truly turns away people from even having a desire to go to church. Many churches have so much bickering going on inside the church over things that have no eternal benefit for anyone. It seems they have taken their eyes off Christ, and we know what happens when we do so ... we start looking like the world. I am glad He is not finished with me yet, as I am a work in progress, just like the rest of us are, and yet I know the importance of being mindful that we are to look like Christ in loving others ... even those who are the hardest to love, just as Jesus did, but it was not hard for Him.

Yes, we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Voted up ++++ pinning, tweeting, Google+ and sharing

God bless you.

In His Love,

Faith Reaper


paul pruel profile image

paul pruel 2 years ago from Philippines and Saudi Arabia

Without criticism nothing to enjoy. And it happens to all religions normally. I liked your thought MsDora...


janshares profile image

janshares 2 years ago from Washington, DC

Thoughtful and timely offering, MsDora. There are so many gems in the Book of James. Your presentation of truth helps one examine his or her own contradictions of character and behavior. You have a gift for straight-forward teaching without leaning in any extreme direction. So refreshing.

I voted discrimination as the greatest struggle for the Christian. Our American history has clearly shown this to be the case, no explanation necessary. Excellent hub, voted up and interesting.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Faith, your comment is such a valuable supplement to my article. Thank you for emphasizing the crux of the matter: "that we are to look like Christ in loving others." I appreciate your encouragement.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Paul, glad you stopped by. We aim to "enjoy" the good and the right. Thank you for your interesting comment.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Jan, I appreciate your input. Thanks for your votes, and your observation about my teaching is very encouraging.


Colleen Swan profile image

Colleen Swan 2 years ago from County Durham

A balanced article about a controversial subject. So often we are preached to with dogma; its good that you have represented christianity with goodness.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Colleen. Every Christian has the right to his own judgment from God, not from another Christian. I am encouraged by your comment.


sheilamyers 2 years ago

Awesome hub and I totally agree.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you, Sheila. It feels good to express what someone else affirms.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

Ho MsDora,

Criticism seems to be riding high on the poll, but that's really a tough question. For sure, they all play a negative part of the Christian life. So many things you mentioned, and so much self examination - thanks for sharing.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Lifegate, thank you for your feedback. Yes, we struggle in all these areas at different times. Criticism seems to hit a nerve.


LeslieAdrienne profile image

LeslieAdrienne 2 years ago from Georgia

Thanks for sharing MsDora....


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

You're welcome, Leslie. Thank you for stopping by.


Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 2 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

Great hub Ms Dora. Thank you for these insights. I had to vote compromise, because that is what I have seen as a huge factor anymore. Many Christians just let bygones be bygones.

Voted up


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Great hub MsDora, many people professing to be Christians don't act the way they should, or as Jesus did. They criticise and judge others, profess one thing in church and do the opposite the rest of the week. We need to learn to accept others whatever their religions or beliefs and love and respect them, not try to change them. If we see other Christians doing the wrong thing we should try to encourage them and support them to get back on track. We should not accept the word of one or two mortal men who preach their interpretation of God's word as being gospel either. We need to question and pray to seek our own guidance from God. Very good hub, voted up.


Bongani Sibeko profile image

Bongani Sibeko 2 years ago from Johannesburg

WoW! A great piece indeed! A heavy subject but well articulated and with a light touch.

I feel it's a combination of different factors that really pose a threat not just to those who see themselves as Christians but to people in general. You can name them, like selfishness, in fighting, competing with each other, hypocrisy etc.

These things are what really eat us out as humans and prevent us living our full potential.

It is indeed about character


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Froggy, glad you stopped by. Criticism is surely high on the list. Thanks for your input.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Jodah, you quite understand the situation. I agree with you about our need to pray. Thank you for your contribution.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Bongani, I appreciate your comment. You are right, there are other religious groups besides Christians who have the same problems. We're all humans with the same struggles.


justthemessenger profile image

justthemessenger 2 years ago from The Great Midwest

A good read based upon my favorite book of the Bible. (A cursory look at my hub page bio would give you some insight as to one reason why James is my fav) I apreciate the "straight talk" from the book of James and your hub.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

James, I visited your page and I am still guessing! LOL. Glad you like the article. The book of James is great for the beginner as well as the mature Christian.I appreciate you stopping by.


cecileportilla profile image

cecileportilla 2 years ago from West Orange, New Jersey

Well done Ms. Dora. Thanks for highlighting the characteristics of true Christians. Agreed that we need not go far to walk in his foot steps. So true that we can do it right here by reaching out to others as he would have done. Voted up!


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 2 years ago from United States

Thank you MsDora, and I am definitely a fan of your works. whonu


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Cecile, thank you for reading and offering your feedback. True, right here, right now we can promote the beauty of the Christian walk and be effective.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Whonunuwho, thank you for your encouragement. I look forward to further mutual exchanges of our articles.


Pamela Bush profile image

Pamela Bush 2 years ago from Alberta, Canada

Hi MsDora;

Very pleased to meet you!

I had to vote "hypocrisy" on this topic as it seems that most every other sin is encumbered by this one. All is summed up by the statement James made "be ye doers of the word and not hearers only." I can tell by your article that YOU understand completely just how there are many professing Christians who are hearers only. Many have even studied the scriptures diligently for years and can recite verses, chapters, and entire books, but do not behave as the Word commands. Criticism can be directly related to "not bridling the tongue" and therefore is hypocrisy as well for hypocrisy is the defined in the "hearing" of the Word without the doing.

We must remember though how we must remove the log from our own eye before we can see clearly enough to remove the splinter from thy brother's eye. Therefore, we must be first and foremost be focused on bringing our own nature into captivity by our Lord Christ Jesus and then if the Word be in us He will be revealed through us by our actions which will minister to others. Many are called but few are chosen. The gate is narrow and few there are who find it. If we desire to be ministers for Christ Jesus then we must first make our own path straight towards the narrow gate and then the light of Christ will shine forth to all from within our body the Temple of the Holy Ghost.

It appears that many desire the reward of eternal salvation, but do not want to pay the price of overcoming this world and the self that lusts after the things of it. Unfortunately, there is NO other way to the Kingdom of God accept the spirit of Christ be in you. And if Christ be in you then you do as the Word commands. For Christ said "why do you call me Lord and do not the things I say?" Let each person, therefore, work out their own salvation with fear and trembling by having the Word written upon their hearts no longer loving the things of this world which are temporal. For the spirit of Christ is an enemy of the world so how can one say they are a Christian, meaning that the Holy Ghost be in them, and still love the things of this world? If a person'a actions show love for the things of this world, then the spirit of Christ Jesus be not in them for what place has light with darkness?

Again I say GREAT article Christians need to think about these points that you have simply listed here because one's eternal salvation is a very serious matter that people need to clearly understand. Straight is the path and narrow is the gate that leadeth to salvation.

Pamela

howtopam


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Pamela, I really appreciate your time and effort in offering such a meaningful comment. You have given my readers and me some additional concepts to consider. These messages benefit us first, and then those we write for. Thank you very much.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

A great lesson in Spirituality. Your use of the scripture here and particularly James, is inspirational and meaningful. It's worthy of the praise that readers give and a lot more besides. May the Great One finds you worthy, and continue to bless your devotional and dedicated heart. Loving thoughts.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Manatita, good to hear from you. Thanks for your encouragement and your blessing.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 2 years ago from USA

You've chosen some good verses here to remember. Thanks.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Barbara, there are also other practical verses throughout the epistle of James, all relevant on the topic. Entirely a good read. Thanks for your input.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

The insight you've shared here about the Word is so valuable and needed in our world. As you've mentioned, it's not in our realm to judge the actions, words or deeds of others - that's up to a higher power. That's why I would say the biggest challenge is discrimination. When we decide our beliefs or actions outrank those of others, we are setting ourselves above other Christians. Even the early church faced this dilemma when issues of faith presented themselves.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Peg, I also see discrimination as a big deal. So many Christians think "In order to be right, you have to think and do what I think and I do, and they discriminate against those who oppose. Church, we have a problem. Thanks for your input.


Ann1Az2 profile image

Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

And the truth shall set you free! I love the book of James. You did a great job, MsDora. And I love the quote from Ellen White.

Jesus himself said in Matthew 25:37-40, "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Ann. The verses from Matthew are very appropriate. Thanks for your input.


mothersofnations profile image

mothersofnations 2 years ago

Powerful article. Many times most don't notice some of these things until they take a moment to reflect. All great things to consider in your walk. God bless you.

Voted up & certainly shared!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, MothersofNations. It pays to make time for reflection. Reflection does make us aware of how honest or dishonest we are.


Rosualdo Ponce profile image

Rosualdo Ponce 18 months ago from Gawad Kalinga Village Ticad, Bantayan, Cebu, Philippines

A God-breathed article. It gives light to have a great walk, not just talk with God. Great job! Thanks for the wisdom and insights. Voted up useful and more!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Rosualdo, thanks for your very kind comment. It is encouraging to hear from readers who are interested in this walk.

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    Dora Isaac Weithers (MsDora)946 Followers
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    MsDora, former teacher and Christian counselor is also an avid Bible student, and presents practical Bible principles for everyday living.



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