"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." First Peter 3:1-2 (NIV)
No, this message is not necessarily addressed to wives - another time for that perhaps! But, this devotional deals with the teaching behind the Apostle's comments. The fact that an unbelieving husband may come to know Jesus by observing and living with a believing wife is indeed a wonderful truth, but what about the underlying reality applied to other situations?
The world will not be won for Christ if we wait for and rely upon the ministers. Simply put, there is not enough and furthermore, the lost expects to hear a message of salvation from a preacher and can easily shrug it off. Not so with "lifestyle evangelism." No, the day by day witness of a practicing Christian (and unfortunately not all Christians are practicing) weighs much heavier than a fire and brimstone message from the pulpit. The behavior of a person speaks very loudly of their heart and that can dig deeply into another person's heart.
The lost do not normally awake on Sunday morning and say, "You know, this is a nice day so I think I will go to Church and get saved!" No, I just don't think that is generally the path to salvation. Most surveys of Christians point to an individual (sometimes two or three but generally one) that had the most influence upon their coming to know Jesus. And that person is very often a friend or family member.
Paul's message to wives in this text underscores this very truth. An unbelieving person can certainly come to know our Lord through the observing of a Christian in their day to day activity that exalts and demonstrates their love for Jesus.
I am not referring to preaching. In fact, that is probably a turn off for most people. Rather, I am pointing to a way of life that quietly and assuredly broadcasts our connection to Jesus Christ. It is the simple things that exude from our lives that draws attention to our Savior. Think of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. These are the very qualities that separate the Christian from the lost. And these attributes injected into daily life speak so loudly for Christ they can hardly be unnoticed by the lost. They are in fact extremely attractive.
I don't intend to offend the clergy. No, some wonderful and powerful salvation messages come from pulpits all over the world each and every day. However, the lost may not make it to the building! No, they may not allow themselves to be drawn to the call from God. However, if they work or live with Christians who "preach" by their behavior, they cannot help but hear that message! And it is delivered with such a great force of humility and honesty it becomes very attractive. Many times a hard and cold heart melts before the honest warmth of a Christ-centered fellow traveler on this earth.
God's Word never directs that we rent a building and await the lost soul to enter. Rather, God clearly instructs us to reach out to a lost and dying world. And the steady behavior of a Christian does much to win the souls of the lost. When we stand up for Jesus in our workplaces and in our homes the lost take notice. They can't help but feel the presence of the Lord in your life. The next time you are sitting in Church and hear a young person deliver a message or prayer and you are tempted to say to your neighbor, "That young fellow should enter the ministry," just remember that the most powerful evangelist may be the person you see in the mirror. May God continue to bless your study of His Word.
by Gary Stone
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