Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV)
No one likes a person who acts one way in one situation and a different way in another. We have come up with some creative ways of describing these people: chameleons, phonies, a put-on, two-faced, etc.
The problem is that we as Christians live, at times, in ways that are inconsistent with who we are in Christ—“a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that [we] may proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9 ESV).
Especially when it is time to put on the evangelist’s hat, we have a hard time shifting into 5th gear because we’re still stuck in 1st. There are things present in our lives that don’t jive with the Gospel. These inconsistencies become hurdles and obstacles that non-Christians have a hard time swallowing as they hear us talking about the cross of Christ. We should not always buy into everything our critics say about us, but there is some truth to the nametag “Hypocrites!”
Here’s a great quote from David Wells’ The Courage to Be Protestant dealing with the whole matter of inconsistency. May God help us all to return to being people of the Truth, courageous people of integrity.
“…this connection between truth and integrity shows itself in that kind of ethical consistency that binds the whole of an individual’s life together. To know God is to know him in every facet of our being. It is to know him in our mind, heart, and emotional life, in our private world at home and in our public world, in worship, in Christian service, in the arena of ideas, in the conflict of worldviews, in the competition between religions. Because it is the same God whom we know in each of these ways, through the same truth that he has given, us, a person of integrity will be the same person in all these areas. The point about hypocrisy is that a person is different in different contexts. The person creates a pose, or an image, to gain some advantage with some audience. The person and the pose, however, are two different things. The point about integrity is that a person is the same, even when audiences may not be pleased and when there is, as a result, some cost to pay.
What an extraordinary moment it would be if Americans—Americans of every kind, from secular humanists to Buddhists, from New Agers to old-fashioned liberals—had no option but to think of Protestants as people of truth, people who lived by that truth!”