(From the sermons entitled, “Ang Isa sa Sumisira ng Magagandang Ugali” and “Ang Kasambahay o Sambahayan sa Pananampalataya,” for dates September 26 and 29, 2013)
The behavior of a person differs depending on a variety of things. Behavior arises from what we learned from parents, from the environment we live in and the many circumstances that we experienced. The behavior of a person starts from what we usually think and say. A famous quote testifies to that,
Watch your thoughts for they become words,
watch your words for they become actions,
watch your actions, for they become habits,
watch your habits for they become your character,
watch your character for it becomes your destiny.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
When we usually do and say things, it becomes habitual. Habits become our character and defines how we live our lives. The Bible also tells that we behave differently because we came from different places and races. (1 Thessalonians 3:7; Acts 25:16). Misunderstanding arises when we differ in customs, beliefs, language and behavior. Moses suffered from the different behavior of the Hebrew people when they were in the wilderness (Acts 13:18).
We may differ in conduct and manner of life; however, we need to adjust to the conduct set by God unto his holy church. These behavior are patterned from God’s commandments, doctrines and teachings. Therefore, our lives should be inspired by living a holy life because we are called to be holy unto the church of God, which is the house of God. “But if I should delay, that you may know how you ought to behave in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)
Setting aside our own conduct, God wants us to be united in love, faith and trust in one another.
Each should learn how to behave and think like Christ Jesus. If we really are in Christ, then our spirit should be renewed, and we shall walk according to the humbleness and obedience of Christ (Philippians 2:5-8). He left us an example to follow (John 13:15).
Christ’s examples teach us patience, perseverance and endurance in all things. It is the only way to overcome this world. Moreover, since we are created unto holiness and truth, we should renew our minds and hearts, and leave the former way of life, which is unsuitable for Christian belief. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
What do we need to learn more about conduct?
Behavior is a powerful force. It can make us more faithful or it can break our beliefs. It can also be contagious to others. A saying goes, “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” Most of the time, this is true. People imitate the thoughts, actions, languages and manners of those whom they are always associated. This is the reason why people judge others by their association.
We are not taught to judge or cut ourselves from others, but we need to be careful not to be associated with the manner of this world. The Bible says, “Do not be deceived; evil companionships corrupt good habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Even before, during Apostle Paul’s time, this has been his problems in the other members of the church. Some did not leave their former lives. The result, it made many members stumble. Thus, Paul warns, “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks disorderly, and not after the teaching which he received from us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6)
The conduct set unto the church is sufficient to please God. God wants us to attain a certain level of maturity when it comes to our behavior. We need to become like Christ, who is patient, humble and obedient. “When I was an infant, I spoke as an infant, I thought as an infant, I reasoned as an infant. But when I became a man, I did away with the things of an infant. (1 Corinthians 13:11)”
To whom do we need to show the conduct set by God?
Proper conduct should be shown in the “household of God.” Household means those who dwell under the same roof and compose a family. When God called us unto His church, He made us a part of His family. Each member became part of this household, which Christ is the head. “but Christ as Son over His house, whose house we are, if truly we hold fast the boldness and rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.” (Hebrews 3:6) “So, then, you are no longer strangers and tenants, but you are fellow citizens of the saints and of the family of God, being built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:19-20)
Each member is expected to show respect, care and love to one another especially those who are in the household of God (Galatians 6:10). We may not be related in blood and flesh; however, we are related in spirit because we are all children of God. We have one Father, and we are His children (Matthew 23:8), that makes us brethren.
How can we show good deeds to one another?
Serving one another is one way of showing good deeds. Not only do we need to serve the Almighty God, but as well as our brethren in faith. “And those having believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brothers, but rather let them serve as slaves, because they are believing and beloved ones, those receiving of the good service in return. Teach and exhort these things.” (1 Timothy 6:2)
We need therefore, to open our minds and hearts for those who need our help and consolations. If we have the power and the indulgence of helping others, we should not withhold it. Those who have been blessed more should help more. Those who have been forgiven more will show more love (1 Peter 3:8)
Having conflict among the brethren is inevitable. However, we were advised to control our emotions, seek more patience and understanding towards another.
We need to be humble and be forgiving. Only in forgiving that we receive forgiveness (Luke 17:3-4) There are many stories in the Bible that show love of a brother to another. The love of Joseph to his brothers is really touching. Other than that, Esau learned to forgive his brother Jacob after a long time of not seeing each other.
However, there are stories that are not worth imitating. Alejandro’s bad actions against Apostle Paul is an example (2 Timothy 4:14). Cain killed his own brother Abel out of jealousy and envy (Genesis). Ananias and Sapphira hid something from the Apostles (Acts 5:1-5)
Apostle Peter encourages us to love one another through deeds and actions. “My little children, let us not love in word, or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And in this we shall know that we are of the truth, and shall persuade our hearts before Him.” (1 Peter 3:18-19)
If we could do this, God would be pleased.
The Bible encourages us to serve God with a happy heart, full of praises and thanksgiving. Be gracious, in other words. “ Worship the LORD with joy; come before him with happy songs! Acknowledge that the LORD is God. He made us, and we belong to him; we are his people, we are his flock. Enter the Temple gates with thanksgiving; go into its courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise him. The LORD is good; his love is eternal and his faithfulness lasts forever.” (Psalms 100:2-5)