If someone didn’t know you went to church, would they know you are a Christian by the way you live your life?
I ask myself that question all the time.
The answer never seems to come quick.
I have to wrestle with it for a while. That’s not because I am weighing some massive moral dilemma that is taking place in my life. It’s just that I want to be sure that my answer is honest and without the need to spin the truth.
In his latest book, Kingdom Conspiracy, author Scot McKnight writes, “Credible living makes for credible witness to the truth of the gospel.” The weight of a statement like that cannot be overlooked, its importance cannot be underscored enough. Committed apprentices of Christ concern themselves with living a life that reveals the truth about Jesus’ teachings.
The main message of Jesus that set off an irresistible revolution was that of love, manifested in our actions. Jesus addressed this in the Sermon on the Mount. He instructed his followers to live a life according to God’s will that influences their community and brings glory to God.
We can find this message in Matthew 5:14-16,
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
What gives credibility and truth to the teachings of Jesus are the ways we live this out in our daily lives. People need to see that we live as we believe. And then we need to give credit where credit is due – to God.
The world doesn’t normally operate according to the teachings of Jesus and the will of God. This can make it difficult for us to love others with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. (John 13:34-35) It’s precisely why this message of extraordinary love seems so radical to people who don’t follow Jesus. Who else instructs followers to love their enemies? (Matt. 5:44) Who else says it is part of the mission to bless those who persecute? (Matt. 5:11-12) Only Jesus!
As people dwelling in the Kingdom of God, we are called to live with and love one another regardless of the circumstances. If people are going to surrender their lives to Christ, it’s important for them to see what God’s love in action looks like. They need to catch the vision of the joy and peace and contentment that the with-God life brings. If someone didn’t know you went to church, would they know you’re a Christian by the way you live your life?
Here’s the challenge that I’d like to issue. Take some time to give the following question some thought and then join me in conversation: What are some other markers of a credible life that makes for a credible witness to the gospel’s truth?
I look forward to hearing from you soon!