A Great Incongruity

Do we as Christians live lives that are shining examples of godliness and inner peace?  I would say many Christians do.  But do those in the world who watch us know the reason for our joy?  If not, our good lives can actually be a stumbling block to nonbelievers.  I read the following story in the book “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” by Donald S. Whitney, and it rocked the way  I think about being a witness for Christ.

“I heard the story of a man who became a Christian during an evangelistic emphasis in a city in the Pacific Northwest.  When he told his boss aout it, his employer responded with, ‘That’s great!  I am a Christian and have been praying for you for years!’

But the new believer was crestfallen.  ‘Why didn’t you ever tell me?’ he asked.  ‘You were the very reason I have not been interested in the gospel all these years.’

‘How can that be?’ the boss wondered.  ‘I have done my very best to live the Christian life around you.’

‘That’s the point,’ explained the employee.  ‘You lived such a model life without telling me that it was Christ who made the difference, I convinced myself that if you could live such a good and happy life without Christ, then I could too.’ “

I realized when I read this that living a good Christian life is not enough; unless I give the glory to God so that everyone knows the source of my joy, I can actually be a stumbling block to unbelievers who see my “good life” and yet do not see the Reason behind it.  1 Peter 2:12 exhorts Christians to, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitiation.”  The point of our good deeds is that when the world see them, they will give the glory to God.  We must attribute our good deeds to the One who enables them, and give the gospel clearly through our lives and through our words.  Living the gospel is not enough; we must give the reason for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15), for faith comes through hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

Do those you know realize that the reason for your hope and joy is your saving faith in Jesus Christ?  Or do they think you are just a good person making a good life for yourself through your own power?  Are you using your life as a powerful witness for the glory of God?  Or are you distracting that glory from Him?  Let’s be challenged.


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