“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” Philippians 2:14-15
In the years leading up to the fall of the Iron Curtain in Russia, I remember praying for Russian Christians who were being persecuted for their faith. The political situation in that land seemed grim, and quite honestly I wasn’t really expecting to see God answer our prayers for freedom in that land. But in 1989 the unthinkable happened—the curtain collapsed, ushering in a new era of freedom for the people who had been under the iron fist of that communist government. The world rejoiced at the news, and I was especially thrilled that our fellow believers in that land could now freely express their faith in Christ.
Soon after that happened, three leaders of the Russian church came to visit the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. As president of Moody at the time, I was privileged to give them a tour. While we walked, I asked them what events had led to the cessation of oppression and persecution against the church. They explained that their economy had been failing because alcoholism was rampant. People who didn’t believe in God had no purpose, and absenteeism from work—largely due to alcoholism—was wreaking havoc with the economy. They said that once when Gorbachev, who was then the Prime Minister, met with his cabinet, he asked, “Why is it that we persecute the Christians? They are the ones who are not alcoholics. They show up for work every day and give us a good day’s work. Why is it that we persecute people like this whom we desperately need?”
It’s a great example of the power of a life well-lived. When non-Christians in this “crooked and depraved generation” notice that we are different, it gives us an opportunity to make a difference for Christ. I wonder if the people where you work would agree with Gorbachev’s observation? Or would they say, “Those Christians—they are always the ones who are griping, murmuring, arriving late, and leaving early?” Even in environments where we may feel challenged or unappreciated, we are called to bear witness to the reality of God in our lives by being “pure and blameless.” It’s often true that the more difficult the environment, the more challenging it is to show the uniqueness of God’s character through our actions and attitudes. Yet it is in those dark times that the light of Jesus in us and through us can shine most brightly.
When we maintain the witness of a life well-lived even in the face of hardship, we have the power to make a difference in our home, workplace, and significant relationships.
Live in such a way that your boss will be prompted to say, “I don’t always get it about Christians but one thing is true—our business is a lot better place because they work here!” And then maybe, just maybe, your boss will be open for you to help him “get it” about Christians—all the way to Jesus. Now that would really make a difference!
- What difference has Jesus made in your life? If He hasn’t made any difference, why not?
- Are you blending in with those around you who don’t know Christ, or would others say you are different in a positive and compelling way?
- What are some specific things you can do at work, school, home, or even at church to exhibit the power of a life well-lived?