Whether we are speaking of the world of unregenerate Muslims or the world of unregenerate men, “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23) Each are born separated from God with no understanding of intimacy with the Father. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;” (Ephesians 2:1) The difference being, the unregenerate Muslim is taught that God is unknowable. He is not personable. This mindset is ingrained in their soul. Therefore, they must see the activity of God on display in the life of our witness before them. Every lost sinner has a basic need to be approved, loved, and the multitudes seek ways to be accepted and loved not knowing the God of heaven has already made a way for them to be “accepted in the beloved” who is Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:6)
Contentment is not found in the pursuit or acquisition of material objects or in the keeping of a set of religious rules. These pursuits will only lead to very deep strongholds of pride being developed in the soul. The fruit of genuine humility is a work of grace. It is manifested through the life of one who is surrendered to Christ. Seeking first the kingdom of God will result in supernatural works of grace being released through the life of the believer. This is what the unconverted Muslim must see. This seeing will require prayer, patient conversation, demonstrations of love in the face of rejection. We must earn the right to be heard. We begin our relationship with them as being an outsider. We are rejected. We are deceived. We have nothing of value to say to them. Therefore, they must see grace on display in our lives and this will take time.
The testimony of our own director Kaleem Javed is a testimony of the faithfulness of God working through the life of his born-again sister to challenge his Muslim faith. She was in hiding from her family, but Kaleem found her. I quote from his personal testimony.
“I was distraught by this and attempted to pressure her to repent and come back to Islam. I tried to use every possible means to threaten her to give up her Christian faith, contacting Muslim clerics obtaining Fatwas (a religious decree) against my sister. Those Fatwas entertained instructions that it is every Muslim’s duty to kill even the most beloved if he or she converts to any other religion. It said, IF THEY DON’T COME BACK TO ISLAM, NOT ONLY WILL THEY BE KILLED, BUT THEY WILL GO TO HELL FOREVER!
I was inconsolable. My sister challenged me by saying, ‘Yes, you can kill us, but before you do, perhaps you should ask Allah, and if he is the true God and creator, then He should guide you what to do rather than these clerics.’ That was the start of a 7 years-long, painful search for a true God Who cares and loves His followers and answers them.”
When Kaleem Javed was confronted with a life and death situation that revealed to him the character of Allah, he was torn between what he was taught was true and what he knew to be true. He had to have God’s answer. He had to have an answer from the God who reigns in the universe. There resides within the soul of every unregenerate man a basic need to be loved and accepted. If God is unknowable and not loving, there will be a constant sense of insecurity in that belief system for it does not answer the most basic questions of the soul. The question for Kaleem and the dilemma he faced was his faith required him to kill his sister. If he does not, he will displease his god.
If God had placed me, or you in Kaleem Javed’s path during this 7 year journey of seeking to prove that his faith was the only true faith, would we have been patient enough, wise enough, to love him to freedom from his religious bondage? When Jesus began his ministry upon this earth, his first message reveals much into the character and purposes of the true and living God.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
Those who belong to his kingdom, those who are blessed with a state of satisfaction and contentment, those who are genuinely happy by the grace of God for the glory of God are “poor in spirit”. This is a secret hidden from the hearts and souls of the unregenerate. They seek pre-eminence, wealth, power, but this only takes the wandering soul away from the God of creation. How is it then that so many Christian leaders place such an emphasis on material gain and not the cross of Christ which produces death to selfishness and pride. The cross of Jesus Christ will free the Developing Disciple from the motivation of self-will to the acceptance of and surrender to the will of God.
Therefore, if we are in prayerful pursuit of developing relationships with those who are a part of the Muslim faith community, we must embrace the grace of humility. It must be the release of the grace of God through us. It must be the work of the Spirit of God in us. It cannot be fruit that is tied on to a limb, a superficial self-centered humility. It must be born of the Spirit so that it creates a thirst within the soul of the lost for that which is true. Do you understand this first and most significant aspect of the Christian faith? To be “poor in spirit” is to follow the example of Jesus Christ.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
There is no humility without grace and there is no grace without death to self. Again, our director gives us wise instructions for our interactions with unregenerate Muslims. “Ask Questions: use the S.A.L.T. Strategy. START a conversation. ASK questions. LISTEN carefully. TELL your own story.” This strategy will require patience, prayer, and preparation. All conversations must be seasoned with salt. Our lives are to manifest salt and light without which we have no effectiveness. Our souls Worshipping God, Walking in agreement with God, allowing HIS to rule upon the throne of our heart will produce Works of grace and faith that will take us to the very center of the Warfare of the faith. Do not pull out the sword of the Spirit and start cutting their religious garments. Earn the right to be heard. Create a thirst within their soul. Take them beside the still waters for times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. For you are “…like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;” The time of harvest will be God’s season.
“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” (1Corinthians 3:5-9)
I have been quickened, made alive by the grace of God for the glory of God. Let us trust HIM in our pursuit of those who are yet outside of the covenant of grace. Be patient, prayerful, and prepared “…sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Peter 3:15) Earn the right to share the secrets of the kingdom of God with those who have no hope or lasting peace. This is the expressed will of God for our lives.