Look how far you’ve come (1)
If we want to win people to Christ, we won’t be able to do it with a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude. Sadly, this is how people see a lot of Christians; their hearts are in the right place, but their ability to reach out to non-Christians with compassion and sensitivity doesn’t do God any favours. If we want people to respond to the gospel, a good place to start is to follow Paul’s example. He ‘voluntarily [became] a servant to…all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious…moralists…immoralists, the defeated, the demoralised – whoever’ (1 Corinthians 9:19-21 MSG). That doesn’t mean Paul didn’t take sin seriously. He adds: ‘I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ – but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become…every sort of servant…in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life…I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!’ (v.22-23 MSG). Paul could relate to unbelievers without endorsing their lifestyle because he remembered what he was like himself before God transformed him on the Damascus road. It’s the kind of humility that only comes from looking back and remembering ‘the stone quarry from which you were dug’ (Isaiah 51:1 NCV). Being the recipient of God’s grace enabled Paul to have this attitude: ‘Here’s a word you can take to heart…Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof – Public Sinner Number One – of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy’ (1 Timothy 1:15-18 MSG). Today, let’s remember what we were like before God stepped in, and look thankfully at how far we’ve come.
Have a think back over the journey you’ve taken so far with God. Thank Him for the difference He’s made in your life, and for all the amazing things He still has in store.
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