Published August 23, 2011

Paul's Epistle...
"Where's The Evidence?"

The other day I received a pleasant little greeting in the mail from the county court system – a summons for jury duty. Ugh.

Well, I've done my civic duty before and I guess I can do it again. But, as anyone who has ever served in such a capacity knows, it's all a matter of judging the evidence. To judge someone accurately, the evidence has to be compelling. It has to be "beyond a reasonable doubt."

It's that way, too, in our Christian life. How often have you encountered someone, chatted for just a few minutes, and, without ever talking specifically about spiritual matters, came away thinking, "I think that person is a Christian." Or, of course, you could come to quite the opposite conclusion.

Nevertheless, if you are a Christian – if you are truly a follower of Christ – there should be some evidence that's readily apparent to anyone who's paying attention. You've heard the old saying, "If you were charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict?"

This is an issue that has been very close to Michael Booth's heart lately. In fact, when the Booth Brothers were preparing their latest recording, Michael went to group member Jim Brady and other writers and shared his heart with them about it. He wanted a song that challenged Christians truly to live the life they claim to be living.

Michael puts it this way: "God is too big to take residence in us and not produce results. So every night we are singing to people who at one time or another have questioned (probably many times) ‘am I truly born again?' And it is very, very simple, but very precise to know if you are or not. And that is, is there evidence of a changed life? Is there evidence that Christ the Creator has taken residence in us?"

The result of Michael's passion for this message was the song called "What About Now." (You heard it on last weekend's broadcast.) And it offers a pointed reminder that when we accepted Christ, it was only the beginning — albeit the single most significant part — of a fundamental change in every aspect of our lives.

You may tell me the date and tell of the place
When you walked an aisle and you first prayed
And you'll quickly point to that moment in time
If someone should ask what God's done in your life.

I'm sure you'd agree that life's where He lives
There will be proof if we're truly His
So please hear my heart and know I'm your friend
Please take this moment to look deep within

Are you loving God and hating your sin?
Please don't depend on some year way back when.

The song's cogent chorus demands a conclusion:

What about now? What about now?
Is there evidence seen by those you're around?
That He's your Savior and your Lord beyond any doubt
Not just somewhere in the past somehow
What about now?

The change when Christ comes to live in our hearts through His Holy Spirit is something that others can (or should be able to) see clearly. But it also means a change in our attitudes toward Scripture, prayer, church, sin and other people.

Do you take time to know Him? Is your spirit stirred
To hear and obey His Holy Word?
I'm not here to judge or to cause any doubt
Just want you to look at the faith you live out.
It's not about a prayer you repeated one time
Joining a church or tears that you've cried...

Do you love God and others? Are you drawn to His Word?
Do you feel convicted of sin? Are you sharing the Good News?
Forsaking what's wrong, have you stood faithful and strong?*

Michael freely admits that such pointed lyrics may not be a big hit on the radio or anything of the kind. In fact, some reviewers have already called the song too controversial to become popular — saying it's something some people won't want to hear. But that's exactly the point. Those are exactly the people who need to hear this message. The Gospel will always be an offense to those who don't want to hear it. (Gal. 5:11; 1 Peter 2:8.) And, for a Christian, the Gospel is something to be lived out every day, "to do the good things that result from being saved..." (Phil. 2:12, LB). It's bearing the "fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22-25) in a manner that's evident to all. It's keeping the Word of God, showing His love. "By this we know that we are in Him" (1 John 2:5).

Michael's not worried about all the controversy. His hope is that "this will be a tool that God can use when someone wakes up at two or three o'clock in the morning wondering if they're truly born again. And He can use this song to steer them into salvation or the assurance of their salvation, which is an eternal result. And it doesn't get any bigger than that."

If you claim to be a Christian, are you truly living a changed life? Is there evidence of it which is apparent to others on a daily basis? "Please don't depend on some year way back when... What about now?"

- Paul

*Lyrics from "What About Now" used by permission. Written by Jim Brady, Barry Weeks and Tony Wood. Brady House Publishing BMI, Universal Music Brentwood Benson Songs BMI, Sony Cross Keys Pub., ASCAP. Song is included on the Booth Brothers' "Let It Be Known" CD.

Also see last week's Epistle with a related theme: "A Wonderful Change"

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