Jim Daly, who heads Focus on the Family, was dragging his feet. He knew the Lord wanted him to meet with a prominent homosexual activist, but it never seemed to be the right time. Finally, Daly picked up the phone and agreed to meet his political adversary for coffee. Around the table the two men discussed their differences — which were considerable — as well as some areas of common ground. Daly began to see this man not simply as an activist, but as a fellow human being for whom Christ died.
Daly tells what happened next in his absolutely outstanding new book, ReFocus: Living a Life That Reflects God’s Heart. “As our initial conversation drew to a close,” Daly says, “I had felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to share a thought with my new friend. ‘You know’ — I addressed him by name — ‘God loves you just as much as He loves me. Do you know that?’ There was silence across the table as this man dropped his head and looked off to the side. He wasn’t able to say a word in response. But he didn’t have to say anything. I saw tears in his eyes.”
Daly counted this as one of the best moments he had ever experienced in his many years of ministry, and he was on cloud nine as he returned to the Focus offices in Colorado Springs. But a trusted colleague met him and expressed suspicion about the activist, afraid that Daly might be compromising his principles. Daly was stunned. “I experienced more of a clash with my Christian brother,” he says in wonderment, “than I did with the homosexual activist!”
Daly’s book, ReFocus, takes a clear-eyed look at the problems facing our society, but it takes an even harder look at our attitudes and actions in response to those challenges. Without giving up his commitment to speak the truth about the key moral issues of our time, Daly says we especially need to focus, if you will, on our hearts. In this important book he reminds us in clear, winsome language what it really means to be a Christian — which is vital for us to be able to keep our spiritual balance amid all the nastiness that threatens to drag us — and our gospel witness — down.
“When I examine my life,” Daly says, “I’m often struck by the fact that I’m all too often more in love with the heartbeat of the culture than I am with the heart of God Himself. If I truly cared more about God’s ways than the world’s ways, I wouldn’t grow anxious or despondent when my candidate of choice doesn’t win an election or when someone or something infringes on my religious liberties.”
Does that describe you? It certainly does me, at least sometimes!
We need to remember that character matters, especially during hard or perplexing times. Back during the early months of the Revolutionary War, as a bitterly cold winter was setting in, Washington’s army was being routed from New York by British troops, who had superior numbers and supplies. Many of the American soldiers lacked shoes and adequate winter clothing, and desertions were common. American patriot Thomas Paine, who was traveling with the rag-tag American soldiers, said famously, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”
Daly’s fantastic book, ReFocus, is a terrific reminder that the Lord tests our souls, too. You can get a copy of ReFocus at the Colson Center Bookstore. Please visit BreakPoint.org or visit ColsonCenter.org.
And by the way, my BreakPoint colleague John Stontestreet lives in Colorado Springs and he talked with Jim Daly about ReFocus on “BreakPoint This Week.” Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and I’ll link you to John’s conversation with Jim Daly. You don’t want to miss it.
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.
Publication date: December 21, 2012