I often offer to do coffee with those who have yet to experience faith in Jesus due to Christian’s impact within their life. There is something beautiful about the tension they experienced and the redemptive potential of their life.
More often than not the issue that chased them away from the church is they were prescribed behavioral changes before they experienced belief changes.
Someone intending to keep the church holy and the sinners at a distance shared some passages to legitimize their sin and just how far from God they should feel. In that, they are practicing a behave before you believe mentality, but this is bad theology at best. We are not saved by works, or we would be able to boast. We are clearly encouraged to place our faith in Jesus without works in Ephesians 2:8-10. We are not saved by our behaviors, but our salvation does impact our behaviors.
In the account of Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman in John 4:1-42, where did he prescribe a change in behavior for her? Yet, the whole town is given the chance to believe due to this woman’s “belief”.
How many times in scripture does Jesus ask those seeking healing if they “believed”? He did not ask them if they could change their behavior before he healed them, he healed them due to their belief and then requested a change in behavior.
When will we learn the skills Jesus demonstrated? Have the conversation, allow it to lead to belief before we uncover behavioral changes within the Bible for those we do life with.
What just might surprise you is that behaviors will shift without your asking them. As hearts draw closer to God, behaviors begin to reflect that of Jesus.
Other great passages to consider:
- Romans 12:1-2
- Romans 15:1
- Romans 15:7