Thursday, May 7, 2009

In Praise of Consistency

“And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:13)

         They say consistency is the virtue of fools, but verses like this one, as well as Proverbs 4:25 and Psalms 5:8 seem to question the veracity of this broad assumption. There are times when inconsistency indicates another kind of foolishness. The rationale behind the saying, I suppose, is that when you follow the same pattern unswervingly, you are more easily tracked. But sometimes, that’s the whole idea. As Romans 14:7 plainly states, none of us live and die to ourselves, no matter how uninvolved we may claim to be. There will always be someone. And when we constantly vacillate from side to side or make abrupt stops and starts, we are hard to follow, even on the right path, especially if the follower is “lame.”

         Does this mean we should never stop and take stock of where we are spiritually, or never vary the speed or substance of our Christian walk? Not at all. But there is a difference between consistency and stubbornness. One is unwavering, while the other is unbending. One represents stability, and the other signifies rigidity. What I’m saying is that there should be an overall reliability in our Christian lives that is both reassuring and easy to follow.

         Virtues such as love, loyalty, integrity, and morality should not ebb and flow, depending on circumstances. Our love should not wane when the recipient becomes unlovable; our loyalty should remain when unproven accusations are flying; integrity should govern our lives when it works for us or against us; and morality should be Bible driven, not culture dependent.

         Obviously, those of us who are more emotionally driven (and who among us is not, from time to time) will more easily fall into the habit of inconsistency. This is not to say, however, we are exempt from responsibility. Just because one is more sensitive to hurt does not negate the admonition to love. Those who are plagued with a spirit of suspicion are still told to “think no evil.” The person who fears the Lord will always be characterized by a willingness to “swear to his own hurt” (Psl. 15:4). And “Josephs” still run from fornication, no matter how persistent the provocation.

         This is not a call for perfection, just an appeal for reflection. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line; and the plainest path to lay down is a straight one. Every man, woman, boy or girl must decide for themselves between the path to Heaven: Jesus Christ, or the path to hell: everything and everyone else. But it’s only natural to look to others along the pathway for encouragement and enlightenment (1 Cor. 4:16). The question is, are you and I walking straight, consistent paths, helpful and easy to follow? If not, then what kind of fools are we?

No comments:

Post a Comment