It’s a rather sobering thought to realize that the world judges God by what they see of Him in the lives of His children–in my life. So we look at our lives and recognize that instead of mirroring His love, justice, character, and peace, we often project a somewhat distorted picture of God, one fogged over by our human failure. “Not good enough!” cries our incriminating conscience. Then in failure, we feel like turning away.
Yes, we know that the world should not judge God by what they see in our imperfect lives. We would like to shout, “Don’t look at me! I’m just human! Look beyond me and see the living God who raised His Son from the dead!” but we don’t have that opportunity.
C. S. Lewis contended that a Christian should never be judged by what his or her life is but how it would have been had the person never come to Christ. He’s right, but the fact remains, we either make the world want what we’ve got or give them a good reason to walk away thinking, “If that’s Christianity, why bother!” As the salt of the earth, it can only follow that our lives should make people thirst for the living God.
When Paul wrote to Titus, he instructed that slaves were to be subject to their masters. They were to strive to please them, not talk back to them. They were to be honest, not stealing from them, proving they could be fully trusted “so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:9).
OK, there is a question which makes it pretty personal: Why does so little of God’s true nature come through my life? Why do I manage to mess things up so others see little difference between my life and that of a non-Christian who makes no pretense of having encountered this living God who created our world?
Paul answers that question. Following the comments he made about making the teaching about God our Savior attractive to unbelievers, he says that the grace of God teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live “self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12).
A news story told how a farm manager in Russia took over and promised the workers salaries almost four times what they had been making, provided they promised not to steal from their employer. Some refused to do so, thereby candidly acknowledging they were stealing more than four times the amount of their salary.
Honesty, integrity, keeping your word, doing what you say you will do, being punctual and working eight hours for eight hours of pay is all part of what makes your faith look authentic in the eyes of a skeptical world.
God will invade your life to the degree that you open your heart and say, “Lord, take control!” Jesus said that no man can serve two masters, and when we seek to be master of our lives, living according to the dictates of our emotions, then calling on God only when we are in deep trouble, the world isn’t much impressed. They do the same thing.
When a little boy was knocked down by an angry crowd in a subway, a businessman stopped, picked up his backpack, and helped the boy to his feet. Surprised, the little boy looked into his face and asked, “Are you, Jesus?” That’s the message that comes through spontaneously when you do His deeds. Yes, the world still judges God by what they see of Him in our lives. It’s still true.
Resource reading: Romans 6:11-14