A Buddhist, a Muslim, and a Christian... Sounds like the opening line to a joke that might get me in trouble. What I'm about to share isn't a joke, yet has ruffled some feathers. Walk into your average church in America, take the most devout 20% of the congregation. You know, the ones who are zealous, highly involved, spiritually disciplined, and deeply in love with Jesus. They might be elders of the church, key leaders in some ministry, or highly respected men or women of character. They are the "best" we have to offer.
Gather this 20%, the Varsity squad of Christianity. Then go do the same with those of the Buddhist and Muslim faith. Take all of them, mix them together, and then objectively examine their lives. Observe how they talk, interact with others, and what their marriages look like, Notice the quality of their morality and the positive impact they have on the world. Simply evaluate what kind of person they are. How kind, generous, loving, compassionate, chaste, or sacrificial they are.
Do this and you'll come to what should be a sobering conclusion: A devout Christian doesn't look all that different from an equally devout Muslim or Buddhist. In this collection of religious elites it would be hard to pick the Christian out of the crowd. The moral quality of their lives and positive impact they have on the world is indistinguishable from that of the Muslim or Buddhist. It seems that almost anyone, who devotes themselves to a moral code that at all resembles that taught by Jesus, will end up being as "good", and often better, than our best representatives in the church.
Yet we believe the Holy Spirit, the God of the universe, lives in us. If this is true, why are we so average? Shouldn't the most devout Christian among us look dramatically different than their counterparts in other faiths?
Jesus in Acts 1:8 says, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the ends of the earth."
I believe this verse. I believe there is something unique about us being indwelt by Holy Spirit. There is a power within us. Jesus' words are true. The problem isn't with Him but us. We believe too little of ourselves, what we hope to accomplish is small, the impact we dream of having often goes no further than having a good moral life.
But maybe you and I were meant for more. Maybe God's indwelling Spirit longs for us to have deeper and more profound impact upon a world that needs to see Jesus.
Maybe we are meant to be the greatest people on the planet for the glory of God and the good of the world.
If that were true how might you live your life differently today?
In a clients initial session I'll invite them to tell me when I'm wrong.
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