Years ago, Kenny Rogers had a hit song entitled, "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town." The last line said, "Oh Ruby, for God's sake, turn around!" The line summed up the desperation of the character in the song, and it fit so well, that I am not sure anyone has ever commented on it. In studying God's Word, I have noticed "for God's sake" used on more than one occasion. According to the dictionary, the word "sake" means "for the benefit of." It is hard to imagine how God would benefit from anything man can do, but He does. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing things in His name (Matt. 19:29; 3 Jn. 1:7; Rev. 2:3). We bring Him honor.
Apparently, when a person declares himself to be a believer, his words and actions effect the reputation of God. When he fails to live in the Spirit, the world loses respect for the One he represents. After all, Christians are ambassadors for the Lord (2 Cor. 5:20). As such, we are to take His message to the lost world. Israel's prophets, like many Christian ambassadors, were killed for their efforts (Matt.23:31; Acts 7:54-60). And many will continue to die for their testimony for the Lord (Matt. 24:9; Rev. 6:9; 11:7; 12:11). Our willingness to die to self, and die physically if need be, validates our message.
Not only do our words and actions bear on the reputation of the One Whom we represent, they either help or hinder our efforts on His behalf. While some Christians have a world-wide reputation as faithful ambassadors for Christ, such as Billy Graham, the same world looks at the majority of Christians as hypocrites. Our words and actions determine whether or not we are respected or rejected. Life-style evangelism is absolutely necessary for evangelism of any kind to be successful. Christians are to live their lives in such a way that God receives glory (Matt. 5:16; Jn. 15:8).
James is one of my favorite books in the Bible, and I like to think of him as being "from Missouri." People who are said to be "from Missouri," are known for wanting to see evidence of the validity of what they are being told. I suppose that in a way, they are much like the Jews who always wanted proof (1 Cor. 1:22). James wrote that he needed to see evidence that a person was a true believer in Christ (Jam. 2:14-20). In fact, based upon my observations, the whole world wants to see evidence that we speak the truth. Failing to see that evidence, they are quick to label us hypocrites.
So, if you are not living a life that glorifies God and gains the respect of those to whom you are sent as ambassadors, repent. FOR GOD'S SAKE, TURN AROUND