Muslims Tell … “Why I chose Jesus”
A second category of love is that which is demonstrated directly by God and evidenced in scripture. One Bengali man says he was “subdued by the revelation of God’s great love, his own sinfulness, and Christ’s great sacrifice for him.” A West African from Gambia explains simply that “God loves me just as I am.” He described his experience in Islam as “rigorous submission to God.” He sensed an inability to please God. Though he was stoned for his faith in Christ, he remains faithful to his new life in Christ.
The love of God is particularly poignant for Muslims who may have been suppressed by other Muslims. One Shi’a man was attracted by the truth that “God loves all people” and that he was personally loved and protected by God. Similarly, a West African was surprised by God’s love “for all people of all races, including enemies.” His experience in Islam convinced him that Arab Muslims are racist towards Black Africans. Sadly, he described Islam as a “tool used by Arabs to oppress non-Arabs.”
I have called you friends: our love relationship with God
For some 10 percent of Muslim-background believers, the particular attraction of a relationship with God was the strongest apparent factor in their conversion. The Algerian émigré mentioned earlier was taken by the fact that God could be a friend and a father. Similarly, a North African convert was drawn by the opportunity to have a direct relationship with God. What he felt he lacked in Islam was any proximity or nearness to God there was no possibility of walking together with God. In Christ, he stated that a very strong attraction was a direct relationship between the Lord and the people. In a sense, the veil of separation had been lifted.
An Egyptian believer stated two compelling reasons for his attraction to Christianity: being adopted as God’s son and the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. This reflects positively what one Indonesian states negatively about Islam: “God is universal and has no family. There was no way of knowing what God was like.”
North American evangelicalism has been criticized for its emphasis on the experiential, the personal. In light of the testimony of this cross-section of Muslim-background believers, the opportunity for access and relationship to God is not an appeal unique to North Americans. Instead, one lesson from this cross-section of fellow Christ-followers from a Muslim background may be the universal appeal of what has been called a Divine romance: Christ’s love for His Church and His desire to commune with those whom He has called His own.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake
Some refer to it as the eighth beatitude. Others consider it more simply the by-product of living out the preceding beatitudes. However you view it exegetically, in practice it is clear that those who are coming to faith from within the Muslim sphere are much more likely to be intimately acquainted with persecution than those from the Western world.
A West African believer was burned and stabbed by his own family. Though he was not killed, his family now considers him to be dead. Though the physical suffering is great, the psychological wounds that are inflicted on those who have been counted as dead may be underestimated. A North African man found it difficult to overstate how traumatic it was for him as he was rejected and beaten and left homeless. Sadly, the national church did not accept him either.
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