It was the American author Sheldon VanAuken who said:
"The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians--when they are sombre and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths."
The truth is that we need more men and women of character. We have to have more who are not grieving and quenching the indwelling Holy Spirit in their lives, but are seeking to allow Him to develop the Fruit of the Spirit in them. Not perfect people. But people who are searching for God's will and not simply seeking a fire escape from Hell. Our society is literally starving for more who practice what they preach and those who refuse to compromise their integrity. We are desperate for persons who mean what they say and say what they mean, and whose word is their bond.
I. Doers of the Word
I like what James 1:22 tells us: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." This is such a practical verse. On the surface, it looks simple. But underneath, it is a command that will take us the rest of our lives to implement. As with all things, Christianity has many who start well and finish poorly. I love it when a person can come to the end of his or her life and say with the Apostle Paul:
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" (II Timothy 4:7).
II. Demonstrators of Transformation
Jesus, in John 3 talked about the new birth. Those who are of the world are dead in trespasses and sins (Ehpesians 2:1). They are spiritual corpses, unable to do anything to please God. When we are saved, we are made alive. We become new creatures in Christ Jesus (II Corinthians 5:17).
Now we have the ability to live a triumphant life. We have a new nature that can live in obedience to God's will. It won't be a perfect life, as long as we are not in our glorified bodies. This will only occur when Christ returns. However, we are capable of growing in grace and becoming more and more like Jesus. We can grow into much more than most of us actually do. Way too many of us choose to live well below our status. And that is a shame.
Ideally we can become living demonstrations of the transformed life that Jesus Christ offers us. We may live as a light in the dark world around us. All Christians are capable of being the salt of preservation in an otherwise putrefying society . Instead too many turn into a part of the world system out of which they have been taken.
I hear numerous Christians complain about the decaying of our society, and the fact that no one seems to possess character any more. However, before we confront our society, we need to look in the mirror and see the changes that still have to take place in our own lives. We cannot make the world change, but we can live out the changed life the Lord has made possible for us by the cross.
We believers have to take away the excuse that many unbelievers give for their not taking the message of the cross seriously. That reason is that the Church is full of hypocrites.
It was A. B. Simpson who wrote: "The chief danger of the Church today is that it is trying to get on the same side as the world, instead of turning the world upside down. Our Master expects us to accomplish results, even if they bring opposition and conflict. Anything is better than compromise, apathy, and paralysis. God, give to us an intense cry for the old-time power of the Gospel and the Holy Ghost."
It has been said that: "The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to Him." It is my prayer that a few good men and women will step up and take that challenge. Our culture, here in America, and around the world, is in serious need of revival. May we who care about these things be the change that we hope to see occur.