My ears stung when a church-going young woman scolded me for being intolerant. I’d challenged her to love women of other faiths enough to share the good news of Jesus, and it really riled her up. It turns out she had adopted a cultural belief that every religion is fundamentally the same. She wanted to take a part of Jesus and mold Him into what she wanted Him to be, then add a friendly, happy, Hollywood version of another faith. I realized then that she didn’t have a real understanding of who God is, who she was in Him, and what He had called her to do. Sadly, no one had passed on to her the knowledge that she served a living, holy God who called her to be an Ambassador for Christ. She’d been raised in the church, and yet she believed a counterfeit lie. How does this happen?
This compelling quote is often attributed to Dwight L. Moody, an American evangelist at the turn of the century: “Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.” I don’t know if he ever said it, yet it rings true. Part of Christianity’s decline in Westernized nations is that Christians such as the young woman I mentioned are “reading” other Christians and not the Bible. This is dangerous and leaves us weak-kneed and vulnerable to lies and deception. It’s been my experience that many Christians are ill-prepared to share their faith because they don’t know who God is, what His word says, and what He’s called us to do. Doubt counts them out.
The only way to identify what’s counterfeit is by studying the real thing. I’ve had many friends of other faiths read the Bible to prove that it had been corrupted only to find that reading it radically transformed their lives. They became wholehearted followers of Jesus with great moral courage who passionately shared their faith despite great persecution. Here’s why: God’s word is “living and active…piercing to the division of soul and of spirit…discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV). King David tells us that when he sought after the Lord and the authority of his word, God delivered him from fear. And he was inspired to magnify the Lord to those around him (see Psalm 34).
Being rooted in your biblical faith will raise your awareness that you are not wrestling against “flesh and blood but against…cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 4:12, ESV). With this battle waging all around us, the apostle Paul urges us to “take up the whole armor of God” so that we can stand firm, keep alert and persevere (Ephesians 6:13, ESV). Are you wielding this armor today?
Listen, Satan doesn’t want you to realize the full scope of who God is, who you are in Him, and what He is calling you to do. Satan wants you to keep wrestling in doubt and unbelief. He wants you to stay busy—away from Bible study and prayer. He wants to keep you in a Christian bubble with Bible verses on your walls and porches, walking with other Christians who don’t know the Word, sectioned off together in church. He wants you to believe that all good people are going to heaven, regardless of what we all believe. Don’t let doubt count you out. Now more than ever, you must know what God’s word says so that you know what you believe.