« Someone once said, if the early church had not had so many significant problems, we would not have a significant portion of the New Testament. Beyond the stories of Jesus and the story of the power of the Holy Spirit to propel the Good News into the world, the New Testament chronicles the challenges God's people have faced living a transformed life in the midst of a corrupt world, as habits and behaviors learned in the world continue in the church.
Habits, once learned, are difficult to break. When Christ followers form a community devoted to Jesus, they are still ordinary people who have discovered a deep desire to live in a way that is pleasing to God and a witness to the truth of the Good News. Their habits and behavior can still reflect the values of a world oblivious to God. It should never be a surprise that church people are every bit as capable of hurting, deceiving, and disappointing one another as secular people. » (Dwelling with Philippians)
Yesterday I read an article that talked about how it is that Muslims are primarily coming to have faith in Jesus Christ. The number one most effective means is when they witness lives radically transformed by the love and grace of God. Men stop beating their wives. Women and children are no longer treated as slaves in their own homes. Employers treat their employees honestly. Jealousy is replaced by love. Mercy and compassion become a reality. Lives that have been gripped by grace and revolutionized by the love of God speak volumes as to the reality and truth of the Gospel message.
So what can be said when people are not being drawn to Christ? Would we not have to conclude that the lack of true transformation of those wearing Jesus' name is responsible for, at the very least, part of it? People are watching us. All the time. They pay particular attention when our life is passing through times of adversity and difficulty. Surely it is in those moments that we have golden opportunities to speak of the things of the grace of God, to live them out in a different frame of mind, with a different kind of heart.
So today, I have but one prayer .... Lord, transform me... for my sake, for your sake, and for the sake of this watching world needing to see a life transformed by the One true God.