Living Our Faith Before the World--Guest post by Steve Douglass
Today I have a guest post from a very special person–my sweet husband. He wrote this article for his monthly Connection newsletter to our staff. I think it's important for each of us.
In different countries of the world Christians face somewhat different challenges. In the U.S. one of the challenges is a more secular mindset which is opposed to how Christians think and act.
I have been praying and thinking a lot about how our staff and disciples should live out their faith in light of that. So let me share with you a few overall thoughts:
If followers of Jesus don’t live their lives above reproach, then the non-Christians around them have some very legitimate room to criticize.
In our own strength, we are all vulnerable. But as we stay filled with the Holy Spirit, we have the power to resist sin and live lives that are above reproach. We must never quit teaching and practicing the Spirit-filled life. Then many who oppose us may reluctantly have to say: “I don’t agree with your theology, but I have to admit you seem to have something in how you’re living your life.”
Loving others is another crucial element that affects how non-Christians respond to us. Sometimes I sense Christians can come across as very negative. Yes, there are definitely times people need to recognize their sins. Jesus did not take it easy on the religious leaders of His day.
Yet, Jesus was very loving toward the crowds of people who followed Him. He offered a message of hope, backed up by an attitude of love—regardless of how much people had sinned. When the woman caught in adultery was brought to Him, He offered forgiveness and a fresh start.
Many impressions regarding Christians are formed when they interact with non-Christians.
For example, do we listen respectfully? I remember one time when I was sitting next to a man on a plane. He was a member of another religion and started explaining to me the virtues of his faith. I could have responded, “I am a Christian and don’t agree with or even want to hear what you have to say!”
But I didn’t. I just listened to him…for an hour. At the end, I asked him a simple question: “Does this really work for you in your daily life, giving you more peace and satisfaction?” His head bent forward some and he said sheepishly, “No, to be honest, it doesn’t really give me peace and satisfaction.”
So I asked, “Would you be interested in something that does?” “Sure,” he replied. “You have listened to me.”
I shared my testimony and the gospel with him. And although he didn’t respond to Christ just then, he eagerly accepted some materials from me and commented to his friend, as we were leaving the plane, how meaningful our conversation had been.
In summary, how we live, love and interact with non-Christians should shine like a powerful light into their lives. And from my experience most will be attracted to Christ, if what they see is something they want for themselves.
On one hand, we aren’t trying to win any popularity contests. On the other hand, we should want our lives to offer a compelling evidence for the gospel.
What about you? How can your life shine more for Jesus?
Steve Douglass is certainly one of my favorite people. I find him smart, funny, humble, godly, creative, hardworking, kind. He is so good at living, loving, leading, fixing, solving and serving. He’s a wonderful husband, father and granddad. And he lives out what he just wrote about. Oh yes, he went to MIT, HBS and leads Cru/CCCI.