Let those who wait for you, Lord of hosts, not be shamed through me. Let those who seek you, God of Israel, not be disgraced through me (Psalm 69:7, NAB).
In the nearly forty years I’ve served Christ I’ve often discovered talking the Gospel is much easier than walking it.
Gospel-talk flows easily across my lips when I share my faith with others. Gospel-walk is a different story. Walking my talk means I must avoid imitating some first century Christians whom St. Paul rebuked when he wrote: God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you (Romans 2:24). It seems from the context of his letter to the Romans, more than just a few Christians in that city did a lot of right talking, but not enough right walking.
Gospel-walking requires I be daily circumspect about my lifestyle so I don’t lead others astray or bring discredit to the Gospel. Daily decisions such as how I dress, or speak, where I find entertainment, or how I behave when no one is watching, all need to be modeled after what Jesus taught and how He lived.
Too much is at stake for me -- or you -- to live according to the moral norms of the culture instead of those moral norms taught in Scripture and clarified by the Church. The people we meet each day have the right to see the gospel in us before they hear it from us.
St. Francis of Assisi must have understood that principle when he encouraged the Church, “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”