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FIRST-PERSON: Your faith, on trial

EL CAJON, Calif. (BP)–Many Christians around the world are on trial for their faith. The persecution of Christians in Islamic, communist and totalitarian lands is increasing at a frightening rate.

Eritrea is a good example. It’s a tiny nation of nearly four million people, situated in the rugged mountains alongside the Red Sea. In May 2002, the government closed many of the nation’s churches and denied legal status to about 20,000 evangelical Christians. In the years since, a brutal campaign has been waged in Eritrea against Christian minorities. Hundreds of believers have been imprisoned and are literally facing trial.

Most of us will never actually stand as a defendant in the courtroom, having to defend our faith. But in another sense, we’re on trial every day. The world is watching us, weighing our testimonies, and looking for evidence of our faith. Our teammates, school friends and work associates are quick to detect inconsistencies in our lives. Our unsaved family members will be influenced by our example, whether good or bad.

Could a good case be made against you that you really are a Christian? At least four pieces of incriminating evidence should convict you of being a Christian. If you were on the jury considering the evidence against you, what verdict would you reach?

— The physical evidence.

Consider: the places you go; whether the neighbors see you going to church on Sunday or out working in the yard; the way you dress wherever you are (even on vacation); the attitudes you exhibit; the language you use; the magazines you subscribe to; your driving habits; and other behaviors you practice. Are you living like a Christian? How would you vote?

Guilty or not Guilty?

— The testimonial evidence.

It’s hard to be a witness for Christ if people never see your changed life or hear your spoken testimony. Would your life convince another that Christ really does possess transforming power? Have you shared Him with a friend recently? Have you spoken up for Christ? Has anyone asked you a reason for the hope that is within you? How would you vote in the jury chamber?

Guilty or not Guilty?

— The behavioral evidence.

Colossians 3:1-3 says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Do you exhibit Christ’s peace in times of crisis? Show others His love in times of tension? Demonstrate His values in this age of materialism and entertainment? Can others see the “mind of Christ” reflected in your thinking and behavior? How would a jury find you on this count?

Guilty or not Guilty?

— The fingerprint evidence.

Are you leaving an imprint on this world for Christ? Is your visible devotion to the Scriptures leaving a mark on someone else? Your integrity? Your prayer life? Do you have an enduring testimony that will still be casting a shadow after you’re gone? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, how do you find the defendant?

Guilty or not Guilty?

Most of us underrate ourselves. We often feel like failures when it comes to the Christian life. But remember: “It is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Jesus said that as we follow Him, He will make us become fishers of men (Mark 1:17). Only one person has ever lived the Christian life to perfection, and that is Christ Himself. Now He wants to live through you, giving you the wisdom, strength, desire and ability to shine His light, bear His name, and advance His cause every day.

Don’t wait until after you make needed changes in your life. Right now, no matter what your situation, let Him have all there is of you. He will conform you to His image as you live a transparent life for Him.

Let the world catch you in the act of being His disciple — let them see Jesus in you.
David Jeremiah is the founder of the radio and television program “Turning Point for God,” and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.

    About the Author

  • David Jeremiah

    David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.

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