By Jennifer Miller
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been thus far a year rife with disaster; however, it has also been a year of great opportunity. I know that some of you may be shaking your head thinking where has there been opportunity in all of this? Let me explain further.
Because of the disaster or “pandemic” for example, more people have been stepping up and helping their fellow man. Despite the division some are determined to sow, I see a lot of community unity whenever we stopped where we were and what we were doing and made time to reach out to others in need instead. People used whatever ingenuity they possessed, to make life easier for those who seemed to be worse off than them.
It also matters how we view this situation. Is it a learning experience or is it a time to throw in the towel and run for the hills? How do you respond to disaster? As a Christian we need to realize the purpose of trials. As Jesus mentioned several times there will be trials and tests for Christians. Times to be disciplined, times to be refined, to learn and to continuously work on the status of our hearts. They are meant to be taken seriously and looked at with hope and not despair. Let us look at a few verses to see what wisdom they offer us.
Romans 5:3 states that it works patience; 1 Corinthians 10:13 teaches us that though temptation is all around us, with Jesus we can bear the temptation and overcome it; John 16:33 shows us hope when it states that Jesus has overcome the world; Romans 8:18 tells us that though we suffer for a little while, nothing compares to the future glory we will behold; and 2 Corinthians 12:9 shows that God’s grace is sufficient for it is through our weakness that His strength shines through.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;”
“ No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
So yes, indeed trials will come as we saw with Jesus and as we experience ourselves when we stand up for Christ and decide to follow Him and share the gospel. We see in Matthew 28:16-20, that we are commissioned (Great Commission) to share the Word. As we read in 2 Corinthians 5:20, we are called to be Ambassadors for Christ. More than that is the importance of sharing our testimony as 1 Peter 3:15; Psalms 107:2; Mark 5:19; 2 Timothy 1:8; Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 10:32 and 1 John 5:11 will attest to this.
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”
“ Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe”
“ Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
“ So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.”
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”
“ And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
So what do we take away from all of this and how do we accomplish this? God has commanded us and out of obedience we serve Him and do his will. We do not let the cares of this world sway us from doing what He has called us to do. Our Lord does not want to see anyone perish as is stated in 2 Peter 3:9.
“ The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Therefore, the reasoning is this: we are commissioned to share the gospel per our Lord’s instructions. As aforementioned and restated again, Isaiah 55:11 informs us that the word does not come back void. It is a seed planted, slowly cultivated, and prayerfully comes to fruition and blooms. We, as Ambassadors, must follow this command and one way to introduce the gospel is our personal experience with Christ. Your testimony cannot be refuted. You are a witness to what happened to you and what brought you to Christ. We open the door with our testimony, start a discussion and then share the gospel. We must do this for the gift of grace is open to everyone. God does not force us to believe, he rather gives us the opportunity to hear the word and then decide on our own if we believe it or not.
This world is turning colder by the minute and hatred is running rampant. I, myself, do not want to see anyone perish and I use the tools God gave me to share this message. I also pray unceasingly for the souls of many. I know it is His hands that will open the eyes and ears of many, but I need to plant the seed and then pray for it to take root.
We also need to use our time wisely. The age of grace could end at any time and we need to make sure we answered the call for which reason we are here. I know many are afraid of sharing this, but would you rather they perish, or would you seek to tell everyone about this gift? You must decide and then step up. Lives are at stake and it could very well be a loved one.
Do not let the current tide stop you from doing this, but accept the challenge, put on your armor, and then go out into the world on a mission for the kingdom of God.
When we meet our Lord, one day we may also meet others who came to Christ because of our boldness and determination to share the truth. And that my friends would be such a blessing to witness. Do not waste a day but persevere for the honor of witnessing to others for the furtherance of the kingdom. Take care and God bless.