Prove It

January 27, 2023

Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:15 NLT

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? Romans 2:4 NLT

It’s not easy to effectively talk to people who don’t believe. We can’t prove God exists to their satisfaction, and most of us feel inadequate trying. We feel theologically and educationally unprepared. But that is going about it the wrong way. We will never be able to argue a person to faith. Our intellect will never do it. It is our influence.

Romans tells us that the wonderful kindness, tolerance, and patience of God is the effective means of leading men and women to God. How will people experience the kindness, tolerance, and patience of an invisible God? Through the influence of visible people.

Frankly, that’s a problem in Christian culture today. Christians are widely perceived as unkind, intolerant, and impatient. In fact, a Barna research project for ages 16-29 years in the U.S. revealed that the word most frequently used to describe Christians was judgmental. That’s an off-putting characteristic. The research further quoted, “Christians like to hear themselves talk. They are arrogant about their beliefs, but they never bother figuring out what other people actually think. They don’t seem to be very compassionate, especially when they feel strongly about something.” When we rely on intelligence and information, we even weaponize the words in the Bible in a way that aren’t “wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient.”

God’s desire is that His goodness and those characteristics will be in us. Through our sacrificial and loving actions, we will gain influence in the lives of those around us. We will “live clean, innocent lives as children of God,” not as theological spokesmen. We will not be a threat to people God loves, but our godly influence will be a threat to the kingdom of darkness. We will stand out as we shine like bright lights in the midst of the bleakness of crooked and perverse people. Our light will make God visible. Our influence will persuade where simple words have small chance.

My greatest influence will always be when God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience—His overwhelming love—becomes visible in me.

  • Holy Spirit, speak to me. Show me clearly what obscures the image of God in me. Give me wisdom to know what to do and then courage to do it.