We have all come in contact with someone who has rejected Christianity primarily because of the unconvincing actions or even blatant hypocrisy of Christians. Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” That sentiment pains me, and it should sicken any of us who wear the name of Christ and claim to worship him.
At the same time, if lack of spiritual fruit in believers can turn away people from the Church, the opposite is also true: a contagious, authentic faith can prove compelling and irresistible to nonbelievers.
Take the following story as an example:
“One Sunday evening a drunk woman came to our church and was converted. The co-pastor of the church went to visit her husband the following day and saw he was a very intelligent mechanic, but opposed to religion and very skeptical. He was disgusted by his wife’s conversion and said he had no doubt that she would soon return to her old life.
Six months later, the same man came to see the minister of the gospel, and was greatly perplexed by his own spiritual situation. He said, ‘I have read every book about the evidence of Christianity, and I’ve been able to resist every argument. But in the last six months I’ve had an open book in my home that was impossible to refute in the person of my wife. I’ve come to the conclusion I must be wrong, and there must be a holy and divine power in this religion if it could take a drunk woman and change her into a holy, singing, friendly, patient and pious person like my wife is now.’”
Glory to God! Truly, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17)
Jean David Larochelle wrote about this reality in his book The Natural Development of Faith:
“Truly the best books about Christianity have stories of the transformed lives of men and women in communion with Christ. If we all gave our testimony of the work God has done in our lives, other people near us would also have many simple and some amazing stories of the power of God. More than that, if believers or those of us who profess to be disciples of Jesus would live integrated, transformed lives, it’s very possible there would be fewer doubters” (p. 56).
It all brings us to the well-known question: If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? In other words, would your colleagues, family members and neighbors say, without a doubt, you live like Jesus Christ?