They Don’t Love Your Religion, but They Like Your Jesus? What a awesome opportunity!

Devotional Thought of the Day:

Featured image21  Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent. 1 Kings 18:21 (NLT)

7  So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8  Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9  Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. James 4:7-10 (NLT) 

920      If you follow faithfully the promptings of grace, you will yield good fruit, lasting fruit for the glory of God. To be a saint necessarily entails being effective, even though the saint may not see or be aware of the results. (1)

Over the last few years, there have been a number of youtube videos were perceived to attack Christianity.  These videos question the validity of how the Christian religion is lived out, by those who claim to be Christians.

That means you and me.

Don’t take it as a personal attack, but please take those words personally.

When people point out our hypocrisy, whether they are inside the church or outside, there are two things going on, both which are beneficial.

The first is you have a chance to engage in relationships with them.  What would happen if someone says that to you, and your answer is, “Please, could you show me, and encourage me, in where I need to be like Jesus?”  They very easily could have valid concerns.  For example, without realizing it, the people of God once, in trying to help people, set up a swap meet with animal stalls and even moneychangers in the temple courts.  What started out as a helpful idea (providing sacrifices for people who travelled long distances) turned into a monstrous mess that stopped those not yet in Covenant, from being able to be still and know God.  They are being provided to you by God to help you focus on being in your relationship with Christ,

Please note I am not saying they know Jesus, but that doesn’t stop them from being used by Him. The dissonance they pick up on, may not be what they think, but there is still a problem.  Often what they are picking up on is our inability to follow God completely.  They could be picking up on the Romans 7 challenges to our life, when we don’t do what we should, and we do act and think like we should not.  Or that we’ve forgotten our first love or are lukewarm in how our faith affects our life. They may not know what they are seeing, but God can be using them, to help us grow.

The second thing happens if we take the time to hear them; if we to listen to their observations; if we ask them to assist us in really being Christians; if we welcome their comments so we are representing the life so well described in scripture.  As we sit down with them, as we study God’s word together, as we see the height and depth, the breadth and width of God’s love, they too are changed.

For together we journey close to God!  Together, as we focus on Christ, they have the opportunity to grow.  Together we find out what it means to imitate Christ and to reflect His glory into the darkness of a world that doesn’t recognize Him.  They become part of the community of faith, even if only to explore it, to find out if they don’t like our religion or just our poor example of it.

And they find a Jesus they might, or might not have known.  A Jesus, who came to help sinners, to help those who rebel from a life, lived with God. The God, who recognized wounds, and sin, brokenness, and injustice.  He brought them up, not to condemn, rather bring healing.  We can follow Him, together.

So welcome the conversations, welcome the assistance, provide the opportunity….engage in a relationship with them, knowing that God wants both of you to live a life transformed, repentant, cleansed and at peace.

(1)   Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3245-3247). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on February 12, 2015, in Devotions, Poiema, The Forge and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. After writing this, a friend asked me about how the second reading fit into the blog. My original intention was because of the divided loyalty, and our need to deal with that. Our walk with those who are cynical about the church may enable us to see those places with more clarity. It takes humility to do so, especially to welcome their words…

    My friend asked me about the tie between sorrow and grief, and how that is being humble. A great view, and i’ve been thinking through it for a while. For while we grieve about our sin, it is more than being humble to admit it, it could be humiliating. As I am thinking it through, it would be a challenge to model contrition and the grief that comes when we realize we sin.

    Yet I think this could be, in a minimal way, a strong object lesson as well. To be able to show contrition at the fact our attitudes toward people could be stumbling blocks to their faith, and then to demonstrate the reliance on God’s promises, and the work of the Holy Spirit to lift us from that, turning out mourning over to joy because we have been forgiven, and the relationships are stronger because of it.

    I am not saying we confess every sin, and show our grief (lie in romans 7) over our lack of holiness. Yet in those things they accurately help us with, what if we asked them to help us?

    Some interesting thoughts, and while I am not done with them, I am glad it was pointed out.

I love to know your thoughts on this... please respond!

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