“Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.” Isaiah 8:18.
We are called to bear witness for Christ Jesus but many believers misunderstand this in their lives and struggle to bear witness. Most of the time we expect miracles to happen in our lives to bear testimony. It is easy to do so when miracles happen but if nothing works out then bearing testimony to Christ Jesus seems difficult. This is because of the misconception of the verse above .
To give a practical application to the situation given above, Peter talked about the challenges that one may face in order to bear testimony for Christ and gave us an assurance that nothing can harm us when we have a desire to do good. Isaiah 54:17 also tells us the same. “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn.This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord. – Isaiah 54:17
“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” I Peter 3:13-17
This situation emerges when your good deeds are mistaken by the people. In the life of Moses, he tried to send a signal to his Israelite brethren by killing an Egyptian, but his own people mistook him and viewed him as a murderer. Bible says that because of these slanderers, Moses had to spend 40 years of solitary life, in turn delaying the deliverance of Israelites. Slanderers slander according to their mind set without understanding the real sense of a deed. Prima facie it seems that we are affected but the slanderers are the ones who get affected. Moses had a good conscience, so when God gave him the leadership, the slanderers were put to shame. Joseph also had a good conscience, when his brothers sold him as a slave, as a result, his own brothers were put to shame and they were afraid of Joseph. The two examples mentioned above are based on a social set up. When our image is totally disrupted, we may think how we should be a witness for Christ Jesus.
To overcome such a situation, we must look back to Naaman’s servant girl. She was a slave girl who did not have any social standing, but still she did not wait for some “Day of deliverance” to Glorify her God. Esther also did not wait for King’s appointment to bring deliverance to her people. Paul encourages us by saying “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9. Slanderers may shut one door for your ministry but God will open many doors.
Lazarus died due to illness and his family became the talk of that village that in spite of their acquaintance with Jesus Christ, his family was unable to save their brother’s life. We may also be thinking how to bear witness for Jesus Christ with our chronic diseases. David sinned against God, once through adultery and the other through disobedience. We may think how to be a witness for Christ as a sinner. To overcome this situation, we must understand how Jesus was waiting for an opportunity to communicate to the general public about the possibility of resurrection of a dead man on the fourth day. A precedence for His own resurrection apart from sign of Jonah. Even in our sicknesses we can glorify God. Timothy served God with his weak stomach. Waiting for healing, thinking that your illness is not going to glorify God will lead you to a furthermore worse situation. Another example is of the four lepers who ventured into the Camp of Syria. “Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.” 2 Kings 7:9. With their illness they carried the good news. It is not we who glorify God but it is God who Glorifies His name in our lives. “nor is he served by men, as though he needed anything” Acts 17: 25. Hence act today!
In spite of sins committed by David, God gave a testimony about David that he was a man near to His heart. How is this possible? This was because the desire to serve God was more than the evil desire in David’s heart. When you have a desire to serve, do not wait to come out of your sinful life but start serving God. This will edify your life as it happened in Zacchaeus’ life. A man who proclaimed the Gospel in a town was rejected by the people living there yet the man continued to proclaim the Gospel standing in the usual place. When people asked for whom are you telling all these things, man answered gently that I am telling these to myself; else I may back slide. It is real. We have to do something for Christ to completely come out of our sins; else we may fall.
God is faithful to His servants
When Jesus was crucified, people challenged Him to come down from the cross. When Job was suffering, his wife asked him to blaspheme against God and die. More than all this, fulfilling God’s desire gained importance in both the cases. Hence, the name of Jesus was lifted up (Phil 2:8-9) and Job got two-fold blessings (Job 42:10). This became possible because of obedience. Irrespective of our present position, Jesus Christ wants to glorify His father’s name in our life through our obedience.
“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Mathew 5:16