Thursday, April 01, 2010


is he really worth it???
is He really worth it???

What does a believer look like to the world? What impact do our lives have on those who don't believe? Do we care?

I received a message today from an old friend. An old friend who is not a believer. We will call her Donna. We have always had very open discussions about Jesus. I have written of encounters and conversations with her in the past.

Years ago, she said to me, "Brent, what do I need God for? I have a great life, a beautiful home, a loving husband, plenty of money and great family. What hole is there for Him to fill?"

Through the years, we have discussed answers to that question, but it has not been "her time" yet (However, God is at work).

Today, Donna contacted me because of some friends of hers who are believers. She is concerned about them.

When she was little, she was in church and learned things about Jesus. Her problem growing up was that she saw no difference between those who called themselves "Christians," and those who were not believers. Because she didn't see the congruency between what they preached and how they lived, she wanted nothing of it.

This decision has lasted her lifetime.

Donna has a friend who was happily married, but recently "went off the deep end." She left her husband and children, got a divorce and started living in a way that is not good.

Donna was close with her but has ended the friendship because of her many bad decisions. The two of them have two other mutual friends. Both are believers. Both invite Donna to church on a fairly regular basis. She never goes.

Since this lady's divorce and failed friendships, Donna's two christian friends have taken to talking poorly about her each time the three of them are together.

Donna is very frustrated. She is not a believer, but knows this is wrong. On multiple occasions, she has asked her two believing friends to stop talking about this woman. They usually oblige, but soon descend back into familiar trashing.

Donna has been deeply affected by this inconsistency. She has wanted to lash out at them, but has held her tongue.

As she pondered this issue, she felt compelled to do two things. One was to pick up the book she had been slowly reading/digesting. The other was to contact me for further discussion.

She opened her book to where she had previously stopped. With troubled heart, she commenced reading...

"I went to after school guys' Bible study, which definitely put me in a hopeless, lonely, cynical mood, because of the guys' hypocrisy; they put on these masks in church/Bible study and act like they're all good and straight, etc., then leave and cuss people out, caring less about God. Certainly I am not perfect and I am also hypocritical at times, [but] at least I try to obey God and my heart is one for desiring Him. Anyway, it makes me feel like I am alone in my generation at my school in truly loving and striving to obey God; I feel like I am the only one with a true passion for the ultimate, my God." (BJ Higgins, I Would Die for You)

She dropped the book in disbelief. How could one so young get what she was struggling with, even if he was on the other side of belief? How was it that she would pick this up at such a time as this? Her journey had led her to the point of realizing that there is clearly right and wrong, good and evil. If she recognized it, why didn't her 'professed believing' friends? Why wasn't the God they served, and sought to share with her, making a difference in this area of their lives?

Her next step was to contact me.

We talked the issue over. I told her what we've all heard many times: "if it weren't for Christians, Christ would have many followers."

I did not make excuses for my sisters. I told Donna that we do not start living perfect lives after we give our hearts to the Lord, and that it is always easier to return to our old nature than to continue on the road that brings God glory.

I suggested she confront her friends. Not in a hateful, angry way, but in a friendly, conversational manner. I suggested she remind them that they routinely asked her to go to church and encourage her to give her heart to Jesus. Using her words, I gave her permission to tell her friends that she was troubled by knowing that these repetitive conversations were not right, and she could not understand why they continued to choose to revisit this poor friends failures in light of whose life they sought to represent.

Her fear was that this would be the wrong approach. She needs to do this.

I wonder how many people are going to approach me in the near future with similarly troubled hearts over my failures as a believer. I want to portray Jesus as glorious! We are about to celebrate His death for our sin and resurrection.

Is He worth living a changed life for? Do we really care about Him? Do we point others to His glory by how we choose to live? Is He worth it? Are the lost worth our denial of self and all that comes naturally, to live for Him? What if we are the only Christ they ever see? Are we enough different from the world for Him to cause them to hunger for what we have?

If their salvation depends on the depths of our relationship with Him and how we live, then the answer to these questions is... probably not.

It shouldn't be, but the way these women live is more representative of how most of us are than what the Word teaches.

The amazing thing is, Donna sees that God is drawing her to Him and that He is revealing part of His heart to her.

She wants to talk later about why it isn't enough for her to live a good life and be a good person. I am praying for her. I invite you to, as well.

I praise God for the broken vessels that we as believers are, and that He uses circumstances in our lives to bring conviction. Even when it comes from unlikely sources.

Happy Easter!!!

dad

4 Comments:

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying that she will see the faithful Christ and understand that our profession of Christ as Lord doesn't stop our sinning. Praying that her friends will "get it" and change their hearts and words.

 
At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent,

What you wrote is a sad reality that sometimes the behavior of people who call themselves by the name of Christ hinders people from coming to Christ. We gossip and backstab. We trash talk people who disagree with us on just about any issue. I see and hear a lot of hate and vile speech by people in the church directed at those in the political arena whose views and policies differ from theirs. Certainly there is a way to have civil debate and discussion, but too often people resort to vile name-calling and venomous language. I've seen this over and over again in rants on places like Facebook. May God help us to represent Christ and speak of the things that He values in a Christ-honoring way. May we remember that there is a world who is listening and watching, who may choose not to have anything to do with Christ because of the way we conduct ourselves. May the mirror of God's Word truly reveal to us what we are really like and may we not easily forget.

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like" (James 1:22-24)

God, when I want to jab at the faults of others, hold the mirror before my face and open my eyes to get a good look!

Cousin Becky

 
At 6:57 AM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

Convicting.

Am I the stumbling block in the path of someone coming to know Christ?

If I have truly made Jesus Lord of my life, I will live and act as though He matters. I love Him, so I will obey Him.

Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.

 
At 1:12 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

i am learning so much about my own belief. Christ speaks so often to His disciples and to the crowd about their unbelief and fear. He is worthy of my eternal trust. He has never let me down, never forgotten me. The gospel demands everything - including my surrender to God's plan ALWAYS being better.

thank, brent!

 

Post a Comment

<< Home