Sunday, April 04, 2010

A Good Way to Relate to People Who Don't Share Your Christian Convictions

In addition to co-hosting the FamilyLife Today radio program, Bob Lepine serves as a pastor of Redeemer Community Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Each week, he writes something for the church's blog ( This is a portion from his excellent post on March 31, 2010:

"After I had finished speaking last week at the TrueWoman10 conference in Chattanooga, I had a wife come up to me seeking counsel. It was obvious that God had been stirring in her own heart at this event. But as she contemplated going home, she was discouraged.

"Her husband, she said, professes faith in Christ, but his life doesn't match his profession. She finds herself conflicted between wanting to live a life that is wholly consecrated to Christ and a desire to live in oneness with her husband. What should she do?

"I gave her some general counsel about not compromising her faith, while seeking to win her husband without a word. Mary Ann and I prayed for her, and we were done.

"Later, I thought about what I wished I had told her.

"I wish I had told her that her holiness matters to God and she should seek to live a life that is righteous, morally upright and blameless. At the same time she should be careful not to parade her holiness before her husband. God cares about her obedience to Him. But her desire for holiness isn't what will make her walk with Christ attractive to her husband.

"Instead, it is as her life manifests the fruit of the Spirit--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control--that her husband will see in her qualities that he desires to be true in his own life.

"God does indeed care about her moral convictions and standards, but her husband won't. He will not be impressed by the things she says 'no' to.

"But as she kindly, compassionately, humbly loves and serves him, looking for ways to bless him and support him and encourage him, he'll find himself being drawn to the Christ he sees in her.

"I believe that principle is true in all of our relationships with people who don't share our spiritual convictions. They won't be drawn to Christ primarily because our arguments for the Christian life make sense to them. And they won't be drawn to Christ because we live lives with a commitment to a higher moral standard than they do.

"Ultimately, the only thing that will draw them to Christ is the Spirit of God working through the word of God. Faith comes by hearing a message about Christ.

"But when we live lives marked by self-sacrifice and love for others, we show the power of Christ at work in our own lives. And that can help soften the soil of a human heart to make it more ready to receive the seed of God's word when it comes.

"Would the people who know you best--a spouse, your children, family members, co-workers--would they say that you are a person who radiates love? Joy? Peace? Patience? And all the rest?

"The same power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in you. It is His power at work in you that makes it possible for you to live the kind of life that puts His glory and grace on display."

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