You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.
Thoughts for Today:I once read the story of how God brought His saving grace to the entire country of Zaire (now predominantly Christian). The Lord used the Evangelical Christian Missionary Alliance, which, several years ago, held a one hundred year anniversary event to commemorate their first coming to Zaire. During the celebration, an old man stood up and said, "I must speak. I am one hundred three years old, I am the last person who was alive in those days when your missionaries first came to our land, I have knowledge of a situation, the story of which will be lost if I don't share it." He was given permission to continue speaking. "When your missionaries came, they told us how to live. We thought their message was strange. We wanted to know if what they said was true, and we knew the only way to find out was to see how they would die. So we began poisoning them and their children one by one." (Historically it was true, within the first twelve years of the ministry, every single one of the original missionaries had died of mysterious illnesses.)
"When the last one died, we held a council meeting and determined that there was something real about your faith, something real about your God -- not because the missionaries told us how to live, but because we saw the way their faith remained strong even in death."
So too our lives, from the moment we accept Christ to our deaths, is a testimony about our God. Not only what we say and do, but also how we die. Not necessarily our physical deaths, but how we manage disappointment, tragedy, unemployment, financial upheaval, illness and all the other problems that can plague us from time to time. Is God allowing our troubles to be an example of a faithful believer, who keeps on keeping on, continuing to proclaim victory even though the visible situation is less than ideal? Perhaps the greatest victory is still ahead. It certainly was for the entire country of Zaire. And it can also be true for every faithful believer regardless of his or her present circumstances -- as long as we don't judge the work God is doing based on what we see!
Questions to Ponder:Have you ever wondered, "God, why is this happening?" Could it be that people are watching and waiting to see how we handle trouble when it comes our way? What does the way you manage disappointment in your life say about your faith? Is God glorified?