I’m reading a novel, and it’s leading me to ask some questions.
What if that young man or woman you’ve been praying for—the one whose mother or father is part of your church, the one who’s been wayward for years—what if that young man or woman showed up at your church and found the Lord? What would you do? Would you try to make him or her over or allow God to take care of that?
Would you insist that he remove the jewelry his piercings? Would you insist that she cover her tattoos? Would you suggest he cut his long hair as soon as possible? Would you make it clear that she should dye her hair a color more natural than purple? In other words, would you insist that he or she start to look more like you?
I’m not talking about the important things, the things that the Bible speaks clearly about. I’m not talking about giving a wink and a nod to drug use, promiscuity, or the like. I’m talking about the superficial, cosmetic issues that garner a lot of attention. Isn’t it best to let God work on that tender, new heart?
God does indeed change us. When we turn our lives over to him, dying to self, we become a brand new creature. But, like the butterfly coming out of the chrysalis, those changes begin on the inside. Pressing a new Christian to make changes from the outside in is just asking for trouble. It sends the message that God cares more about how we look than he does about who we are. And, that’s simply not true.
So, the next time you’re praying for some lost and wandering soul, ask yourself what you’ll do when they respond to the Holy Spirit’s call.
In case you’re curious, the book is Just As I Am by Virginia Smith. I am only about a quarter of a way into the book, so I can’t review it yet. If I like it I’ll share it soon.