“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24 ESV).
Standing in front of a courtroom with your hand on a Bible is intimidating, even if you have nothing to hide. Maybe I’m alone, but even stating my name and address had me sweating. You swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth… so help you God! I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like for someone planning to lie! The truth can make you nervous enough.
We are called upon in court to testify to things that we have seen, experienced, or otherwise have knowledge of, such as witnessing a traffic accident or a crime taking place. We also may be called upon to offer testimony as a witness of someone’s character.
The pressure of a courtroom is intense. But we find it in ourselves to do what must be done. Our testimony may have a bearing on numerous lives.
OK. I’m certain you know where this is going….
We spend most of our lives testifying in the court of public opinion. The world looks at what we say we believe and weighs it carefully against the life that we live. Are the two harmonious or contradictory? Are the words of our mouths confirmed by life we live? If someone was called to the stand to discuss your character is it your words or your actions that would likely come to the fore?
Those are the questions that are often asked in blogs like this one. Here’s a different one. Who is on trial? The world may argue that you, in fact, are on trial. But when it gets down to brass tacks, it is Jesus who is on trial.
As in the courtroom, where a verdict may come down to the credibility of a witness, people wrestle with whether Jesus is who He said He is largely based on the character of the witnesses (that’s you and me!).
It might seem as though I am trying to convince you not to testify and witness on behalf of Christ. I can assure you that is not the case. I want to encourage you to concern yourselves with who Jesus is and who He is to you! Mindfully spend time every day reconciling your words with your actions. What does Jesus really mean to you?
Paul knew exactly what Jesus meant to him when he said, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus…” For him, there was nothing worth more, no consequence to steep, than fulfilling the call that God had on his life. Incidentally, that call is our call every bit as much as it was his: “to testify to the gospel [Good News] of the grace of God.”
We must remember that lives, eternal lives, hang in the balance. It’s been said that the world doesn’t care how much you know until it knows how much you care. They can argue facts with the theologians, but they cannot argue with your experience. It is uniquely yours; and it can be even more effectual than the things you know about Jesus. Testify about the Good News that you have experienced. What has God’s grace meant to you, personally? And how can others experience God’s grace as you have?
You aren’t called to know all of the facts, but you are called to testify to what you do know and have experienced.
“But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.'” (Acts 4:19-20 ESV). “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13 ESV).
Don’t forget to testify of God’s grace to the lost you know, first and foremost. Blessings on your weekend!