We recently moved to a part of the country that has a lot of churches. The thing that's hard for us to understand is that many of the people who go to church don't seem to be any different from those who don't. How do you explain this? — Mrs. Y.B.
Many years ago, a colorful evangelist of another generation said that sitting in a church didn't make you a Christian—any more than sitting in a garage made you an automobile! There is a lot of truth in that.
You see, it's accepted or even popular in some places to go to church. But what often happens is that a person only goes through the motions, and never allows God to touch his or her heart. And when that happens, God isn't touching their lives either, and they go on living as if He didn't exist. The Bible warns, "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead" (James 2:26). In other words, being a Christian outwardly doesn't necessarily mean a person is a Christian inwardly, and has committed his or her life fully to Christ.
Never forget: Our faith is to be in Christ and what He has done for us, not in other people. People are imperfect and will fail us; Christ never will. Only God knows the hearts of those you see around you—but what about you? Is your faith in Him? Don't let the bad example of some keep you from Christ.
In addition, I hope you will pray for those you meet who aren't living the way they should. Ask Him also to help you confront them with their hypocrisy, as He opens the door. They need a living faith, and God can use you to draw them to Himself.