A common theme has been recurring in several things I’ve been hearing/reading over the past few days, and it is centered in a question asked by Moses in Exodus 33:16 (NIV):
“How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
In the context of this passage, God had promised Moses that He would send an angel to lead the people into the Promised Land. But Moses’s passion was stirred, and he interceded for the Lord to personally lead the people. God answered his plea, and His presence is demonstrated personally to Moses in Ex. 33:17-34, 28; and publicly by the construction of the tabernacle (ESV Study Bible).
Moses understood that without God’s presence, they would not be a people set apart from other nations, so why travel any further?
But in the context of my point in this blog, what is it about “Christians” that separate us from nonbelievers in the world? Most of the people who identify themselves as “Christians” in today’s world talk the same, think the same, and do the same as any other person who does not proclaim faith in Jesus Christ. So why even bother being called a Christian? For appearance’s sake?
This has been provoking me personally lately, and the more I think about it, the more I realize it is time for those of us who claim to be Christians to stand for what we believe in and make our lives markedly different from nonbelievers. It is time for us to take the years of messages we have heard, and put some application into effect. Stop reading good books about how to be a good Christian; and just be one. To stop thinking that we are so good that we have the right to unnecessarily judge and criticize others, and to react to every situation seriously thinking, “What would Jesus do?” Would Jesus hold that grudge against that person? Would Jesus speak a harsh word unnecessarily, to tear an individual down, even if it’s not “that bad” in your personal biased judgment?
What will it take to convert those people around us who we want to become Christians? Many times, we ourselves are the stumbling block to others’ being saved. So why should someone follow Christ, especially when the person trying to convince them is not leading a Christ-like life?
I heard it said at a meeting regarding the subject of speaking the Word of God, that the worst thing we can do is push someone away from the faith by our lifestyle and actions, especially unknowingly.
Do we all share that sentiment? Do our habits, words, and actions speak Christ and life into others? Or do they speak harsh judgment and criticism? Do our lives lift others up or tear others down? And I mean our public and private lives.
Once you know that answer to that question, what is your response? Apathy or action? If it is apathy, please understand there is a world that needs Jesus, and there are people dying everyday without salvation.
If we have that sense of urgency, we will begin to change our lives. Then our world will transform around us. And Christ will be glorified.
I ask the original question again asked by Moses, posed to God, but in the context of today’s world: “What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”