When I was in high school, I thought that the best way to “witness” to my unsaved friends was to become as much like them as possible—with a few Christian morals tagged on to my worldly, secular lifestyle. That way, I reasoned, they wouldn’t be turned off by Christianity. They would see that Christians could be just as fun as anyone else and that being a Christian didn’t have to interfere with life too much. I was convinced that being like the world was the best way to win the world for Christ.
Being set apart for Christ would not be a hindrance to my Christian witness. Being set apart for Him was my Christian witness.
The problem was, my “worldly witnessing strategy” didn’t actually win anyone to Christ. In fact, most of my unsaved friends didn’t even realize I was a Christian. I watched the same movies, listened to the same music, wore the same clothes, went to the same parties, and pursued the same frivolous activities as they did. I just happened to go to church on Sundays.
I told myself that I was giving Christianity a “good name” by living a pleasure-filled life like everyone else and not acting like a legalistic stick-in-the-mud. But whenever I was willing to be honest with myself, I had to admit that I felt like a hypocrite. There was nothing about my life that would cause anyone to say, “I want what she has!” Yes, I had slightly higher standards than some in a few key areas, but for the most part, I was just like everyone else.
The Turning Point
A turning point came when I felt God challenging me to stop trying to fit Him into my life. Instead, He wanted me to build my life around Him. As He gently called me away from the trivial, meaningless, worldly path I had been walking, I began to understand that being set apart for Christ would not be a hindrance to my Christian witness. Being set apart for Him was my Christian witness.
Of course, this did not mean adopting a set of legalistic rules for my life and walking around with a self-righteous attitude. Instead, He was asking me to set aside my pursuit of worldly pleasures and pursue Him with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. As I began to find my joy, delight, and satisfaction in Him, I no longer craved the earthly pursuits and pastimes that had once been the center of my life.
I found myself withdrawing from certain influences and activities, not from a sense of duty or obligation, but out of a genuine love for my King and a desire to honor Him above all else. As my love for Him began to affect my daily choices and lifestyle, people began to notice something different about me. They saw fulfillment, radiance, and peace that hadn’t been there before. And some began to ask me about it. Becoming set apart for my King made it possible for me to lead others to Him.
Following Jesus with Reckless Abandon
As modern believers, we must wake up to the fact that the world isn’t rejecting Christianity today because we aren’t enough like the culture. Rather, it’s because we are too much like it. All too often, nothing is different about our lives, nothing that proves we have found something bigger to live for than temporary pleasure, and certainly nothing that says we have found something worth dying for.
Nonbelievers will only be drawn when they see something real, something powerful, something far beyond what pop culture could ever hope to offer.
We are often pining after the same empty pursuits as nonbelievers are, enamored with the same celebrities, preoccupied with the same reality TV shows, and obsessed with the same professional sports teams. Why should they want what we have when our lives are no different from theirs, except for a few moral boundaries here and there?
It won’t be the example of lukewarm believers trying to “be in touch with the culture” and somehow make Christianity seem comfortable that will reach the world for Christ. Nonbelievers will only be drawn when they see something real, something powerful, something far beyond what pop culture could ever hope to offer. True Christianity has always been, and will always be, convicting to the soul and offensive to the culture. And only when we no longer care what we look like to this world can we truly impact them for Jesus Christ (John 15:18–29).
Christ said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). Our best witness is to lift Jesus up as different and set apart instead of pretending He’s just like everyone else (Acts 2:47).
Our best witness is to lift Jesus up as different and set apart instead of pretending He’s just like everyone else.
When we stop being enamored by the world and start being captivated by our King, the world will stand back in wonder. Yes, nonbelievers may mock and revile us, but in the end they will be unable to deny the unshakable, unstoppable power of true Christianity, and many will be forever changed by what they see in our lives.
Has God been challenging you to come away from the world and live a set-apart life? Remember that there is no better way to win people to Christ than to follow Him with reckless abandon.
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