Our pastor definitely has me thinking.
While I enjoyed today's sermon, I was uncomfortable with something the pastor said. It's not a huge issue, and it's even something I've said myself in the past; but at this point in my life I see it as a "Christian myth".
I'd like to tell you the "myth", explain why I don't believe it, and then hear your thoughts on it.
The Myth: If you really love God, and are really following His will for your life, then people will be so attracted to the Jesus in you that they will be approaching you and asking about God and so, you'll frequently be sharing your faith and leading people to God. Now the myth does not ignore the fact that many will be adverse to the gospel in general, it just affirms that if you're really loving God and living all out for Him, then many others (those who aren't adverse to the gospel) will be drawn to you.
Is it just me, or does this sound rather similar to the old faith healer myth about how if you don't receive your healing, then it's your fault because you must not really believe?
Just off the top of my head I have 5 concerns with this whole kind of thinking:
1. The emphasis is on what I do, when I think the emphasis should be on what God does.
Don't get me wrong, I fully recognize that we have our part in this life of faith. One of my favorite Bible passages is Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV) :
12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
I think this passages shows that balance; we obey and engage in actions, but it's God's power that's enables us to do so.
2. It borders on being a formula - If you do your part, then God will do His, in just this way.
The older I get, the more I don't believe we can box God in. He's God and He does things His way. Frequently it doesn't end up being the way I had things figured. Sure there are principles that I can count on, but I have no guarantee how God is going to manifest those principles.
3. It has not been my experience.
While my experience is not everything, it is something. I have been a Christian for just under 4 decades and can count on one hand the times someone has come up to me and told me that they see something different in me and would I please tell them what it is. So while this has happened to me, it's obviously not been the norm. So, does this mean I don't love God enough? That I'm not obedient enough? Well, the truth is that the answer to both these questions is absolutely YES. I want and need to constantly be growing in my love for God, constantly becoming more aware and changing the way I live so that I can be more fully His. But my experience is that as imperfect as I am, God in His mercy, grace, love and goodness, because of who He is, chooses to bless me and use me anyway. It's just not about me.
4. It seems to have an underlying assumption that numbers count.
If you really love God, and are really living for Him, then you'll be constantly bringing people to Him. I sincerely believe this may or may not be true. I do not think God has the exact same plan for everyone. Some people greatly impact just a few people, while others impact masses.
5. Does this smack of guilt?
Is it just me or could this myth make some shy, obedient, loving, Believer feel like they're doing something wrong just because people aren't walking up to them all the time and asking they why they are different?
To be candid, I'm just thinking aloud on this issue. I'd welcome your input.
Do you believe that the common Christian thought that If you really love God, and are really following His will for your life, then people will be so attracted to the Jesus in you that they will be approaching you and asking about God and so, you'll frequently be sharing your faith and leading people to God, is Truth or Myth? Why?
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