Jonah 1:7-10 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
Most of us are on some type of social media—whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or one of the newer sites, Parler. Most people have at least one social media account, if not several. When you sign up for one of these accounts you inevitably have to fill out a profile. This is where you usually post a picture along with some general information about yourself. This is so those who follow you or potentially will, get to know a little bit about you and who you really are.
One of the things I have found interesting is how some people will post their spiritual beliefs. It may say that they are a Christian, and that they love Jesus. They may have a Bible verse that they claim is important to them. The statements in their profile are apparently there to reveal to others what they consider important in their life.
What is so often tragic is the fact that if you scroll down through their posts, they have nothing to do with what they said they believed or loved in their profile. The Jesus they said they loved and the Bible they said they believed apparently does not affect their daily life. If we're blatantly honest, their posts provide evidence that they really don't love Jesus and that the Bible doesn't have much effect in their life. That would be like putting in my profile how much I love my wife while my posts show me with other women.
The point is this: much like on social media, the average Christian’s life seems to have a huge gap between what they say is important and what they actually do. In essence, there is a colossal difference between our profile and our performance. That was Jonah’s problem.
After the mariners cast lots to find out whose fault the destructive and potentially deadly storm was, Jonah is chosen. From our knowledge of the story, we know it was his fault that this was all taking place. When the men ask Jonah about himself, he makes an unbelievable statement. He tells them that he fears the Lord. But in contrast, he also had told them that the storm was his fault because he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord. Which one is it, Jonah? Do you fear God or do you flee God? The two do not go together.
The problem in this situation is that Jonah was like most Christians. His profile, “I fear the Lord,” did not match his performance, fleeing from God's presence. To make it simple for us, what we say we believe should match up with how we behave. For some reason, this seems to be a foreign concept to most Christians. No one is asking Christians to be perfect or to walk on water, but shouldn’t our life be a witness of what we believe? The fact is that our life is the best witness to what we believe, whether we like it or not.
Why is this so important? Because a Christian is the best advertisement for Christianity. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true: a Christian can be the worst advertisement for Christianity. What does your performance, the way you live, tell this world about Christianity? The world doesn't care as much about your profile as it does your performance. Let's make sure we are striving to be genuine in our faith, and that we are trying with our lives to back up what we say.
This isn't about our social media, although it is a good idea for a Christian’s social media profile to match their posts. This is about living a Christian life that is more than just a profile: it's something we actually live or perform. Let me leave you with three thoughts:
Profile says, performance does.
Profile wishes, performance walks.
Profile whispers, performance shouts.
If we are not building our life on the Word of God, we will experience major defeat and disaster.
If an area of our life is incompatible with Scriptural living, it isn't to be moved to another area, but removed completely.