“Change is the only constant in our world” is a common and accepted world view on the subject of consistency. Therefore the search and expectation for consistency in things and relationships with people around us can be daunting.
The following every day questions are different, but the answer is the same.
1. What children need most from their parent in the home on behavior and role model?
It’s consistency! When parents are not consistent but moody and fickle minded children will follow their behavior.
2. What keeps us going back to a particular food outlet?
It is the consistent way that foods are prepared and served that makes us return again and again, even standing patiently in the queue. But we remember and stay away from outlets that are not.
3. What workers expect most from their supervisors?
It is the consistent clear and reasonable instructions that stimulate workers to do their best. When supervisors give partial instructions and are fickle minded, workers’ productivity will go downhill.
4. What makes people trust doctors and lawyers?
It is the consistent professionalism, skill and empathy that people put their complete trust in them. Without a thought on the consequences they take the medicine, undergo medical procedures, or sign on legal papers that they may not fully understand.
5. What do people expect most in a mature friendship?
It is the consistent mutual trust, respect and acceptance of each other untainted by differences in temperament, background or personal interest. Another factor in mature relation is the ability to forgive. The command in the Bible to forgive wrongs of a brother or sister is 7 times 70 times that is 490 times. It is not to keep account of each and every wrong, but to forgive consistently. There will be wrongs, misunderstandings, offences and unkind words, intentional or perceived, will to break up relationships. It is the consistent ability to forgive that matures friendships.
Who are the outstanding characters in the Bible that stand out as consistent in their trust in God? One is Abraham. He waited 25 years for God to give him a son. Isaac was borne when he was 90 years old. But when God commanded him to sacrifice the teenage son, “he did not waver” (Romans 4:20). Another is Paul. When called to go to the Gentiles to preach the gospel he obeyed in spite of hardships, persecutions, imprisonments and threats on his life. He is consistent in his obedience. He also urged Timothy to “be ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). In other words it is to be consistent, rain or shine, in winter or summer, at all seasons of life.
The best of all is the consistency of Jesus Christ our Lord. “He is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) When we need Him He is there. He is there even when we think we don’t need Him. We can never be too early or too late going to Him. When we call He will not hang up whether our call for help is a storm in a tea cup or a raging disaster. He will not put us on hold because he is never busy or engaged. He will not ask us to call back because there is a queue. He answers our calls personally without any intermediary and he hears us when we call him on behalf of others.
The most perfect and consistent Person displayed in the Bible is God and Father Almighty. His attributes such as love, goodness, justice, mercy, holiness and grace are forever constant.
What about us mere mortal beings of the fallen race? How can you and I be consistent Christians and disciples of Jesus? Is it possible that we be consistent in all things we think, say and do? Have our consistency as Christians set us apart from men in the street, collogues in the office and school and fellow workers in the factory floor? Had you and I been embarrassed by our inconsistencies that we prefer silence about our faith in the company of unbelievers? Do we then often feel more comfortable to compromise with the values, practices and lifestyle of the world?
We may not face the scale of trials and persecutions that Christians beyond our shores face to the extent as to denounce their faith or face death. But living in our peaceful environment there is always the constant, subtle and new thinking to win our hearts and minds to join the crowd in the name of personal liberty. We can be easily persuaded to change things for change sake. But such association can easily rob us of our trust in God and may lead to our spiritual decline.
Are we able to stumble and fall as Christians? The answer is clearly yes! God the Father does not leave us helpless. He gives us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us when we believe Jesus Christ is our Savior. The role of the Holy Spirit is to mark us as His own and to help, council, strengthen and enable us to live consistent lives for His honor and glory. We may often grieve Him but He will not waver to correct and mold us even painfully at times. He also gives us His word from the Bible so that we can be taught and be transformed when we obey. In all these ways He preserves us till the day of our redemption.
There is no happier or better way to live a life pleasing to Him than to corporate with the Holy Spirit and to depend on His eternal word in the way we live. Therefore it will be well to remind ourselves that we need to be consistent just as God is consistent.
This Reflection is inspired by an article in CR Swindoll’s Growing Strong in the Season of Life.