When my husband and I drove through a rural area we saw a house that looked as if it had not been repaired for decades. The broken windows and peeling paint were surely an embarrassment to the owner.
Immediately I thought of God's people who are "a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit" (Eph. 2:22). He repeatedly said He created us as His dwelling to be for the display of His splendor. (See Isaiah 49:3; 44:23; 61:3).
We must be a sad embarrassment to God. When George Barna did a survey of 152 separate items comparing the lost world and those in the churches, he found virtually no difference between the two. Many in the church live the same self-indulgent lifestyles as those who do not know Jesus.
The non-Christian looks to his position, power, and natural joys for his security and pleasure. So do many of us. Few can say with Christ, "I seek not to please myself but him who sent me."
The result? Millions profess to be indwelt by Christ, but His life is seldom visible. All of this is not lost on the world. They wonder if we have a weak God who calls us to be holy as He is holy but who is unable to keep us from sinning.
But God promises there is coming a day when "never again will my people be shamed" (Joel 2:26, 27). He will put His Spirit in His people so they will be careful to keep his laws, and the reason He gives is interesting. Twice He says, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel" (Ezek. 36:22, 32). Instead, it is so "the nations will know that I am the LORD declares the Sovereign LORD when I show myself holy through you before their eyes" (Ezek. 36:23).
Let's join together in this prayer:
"Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'" (Joel 2:17).
"God, we long for You do something for Your Church to restore the fame of Your name."