JACKSON, Miss. (BP) – A resounding testimony of faith in Jesus Christ will get you into more trouble than you’ve ever been in, in your life.
You thought we were going to say how good life would be if you went “all in” for the Lord and told everyone about Him?
Let’s say it again: A strong, outspoken witness for the Lord Jesus Christ will box you into a corner and make you put up or shut up.
That’s why you ought to do it. That’s why you ought to erect a neon sign in your front yard declaring that “Jesus is Lord at 203 Garden Cove” or wherever you live. You ought to put a Bible on your desk and wear t-shirts that celebrate Jesus and put Him in your conversation.
Pray in restaurants before meals, speak to waitresses about their spiritual welfare, and witness to your colleagues at work.
Live and speak so that when someone wants to attack the Lord Jesus Christ and can’t lay hands on Him, they start looking for you. (Acts 5:41 comes to mind.)
In declaring yourself for Jesus, you ought to remove your safety harness and throw yourself totally into God’s hands.
Quit being so cotton-picking careful.
What are you afraid of?
Tell people you’re a Christian and that it’s the best decision you ever made, and that to know Jesus is the best thing on the planet.
Keep doing it and then watch what happens. It might be painful, so be strong.
My friend Diane tells this story about her family. There was a time when their children were small and times were hard. Diane had quit work to be a stay-at-home mom and they were trying to make do on Philip’s salary from the department store.
As if life were not already complicated enough, Diane got sick and had to have a battery of tests and medical treatments. The condition was ongoing and the costs were frightening.
As the one who paid the bills, Diane always made sure they sent the clinic a payment of some amount each month. However, it hardly put a dent in the total bill, which kept increasing.
During all this time, they never missed tithing their income to the Lord through their local church.
One day, they received a phone call from the clinic. “We appreciate that you pay toward your bill each month, but we are going to have to ask for one-half of the total now. Until you do, you can’t charge anything more to this account.”
That was a blow. They began praying in earnest about what to do.
About this time, they received word that Philip’s parents were coming to visit.
His mother and dad had never understood why Philip and Diane had continued to give a full one-tenth of their income to the church when they barely had enough to live on. In fact, they criticized them for doing so. Diane says, “They were skeptical, even antagonistic, about our commitment to the Lord and our church.”
As they prayed, they began to see a way out. They could borrow the money from Philip’s parents until their income tax refund arrived in a few months.
They hesitated because their tithing testimony had said the Lord would provide for their needs. And now they would be borrowing from someone unsympathetic to such convictions.
Diane: “How could we ask them without making God look bad? Without having them doubt even more our commitment to Him? And especially God’s willingness to provide for our needs?
“We were so concerned about protecting our testimonies and the integrity of God before their eyes.”
And yet, borrowing from Philip’s parents seemed to be the only way.
That evening, as the young parents went upstairs to tuck the little ones in, Philip’s mother said she had something to discuss with them.
“Philip and Diane,” she said, “As you know, my parents died recently. And they left me their estate.”
It was a sizeable inheritance that she wanted to share with them. The gift paid the entire medical bill and more.
“No one but the Lord knew about our need. We had told only Him,” Diane says.
They never did get around to telling the parents that they were within a hair’s breadth of borrowing money from them.
The Lord had provided. Their faith and obedience were confirmed.
Here are five things a resounding testimony will do:
1. It will identify the Lord Jesus Christ as the Master of your life and everything of any value in you.
Don’t say it if you don’t mean it and intend to live by it. An impulsively spoken testimony of faith you do not have and commitments you don’t intend to keep are worse than silence.
2. It will force you to put up or shut up.
This kind of crisis can be the best thing that ever happened to you. Come through it victoriously, and you will grow a mile overnight. Back away from it, and you will be years in recovering.
3. It will capture the attention of the watching world.
Outsiders and onlookers – people who do not know the Lord, those who may know the Lord but have never been challenged, and those seeking the Lord and unsure where to find Him – will watch to see if things are as you said, if the Lord can do what you claimed.
4. It will dare the enemy to do his worst.
You are throwing down the gauntlet to him, daring him to test you. “Bring it on,” you’re saying.
This is what baptism was intended to be, a public announcement to the world – to the righteous as well as the enemies of righteousness – that this one is publicly declaring for Jesus. Until that moment, you may have been hiding in the shadows, a secret follower of Jesus. But no more. You are going public, suiting up in the full armor, and carrying out His orders.
You have just painted a target on your own back.
That, I expect, is the reason most of us live for Him timidly, hide in the back recesses of the church, and keep our faith to ourselves.
We hope that the Lord notices and the Devil doesn’t.
5. It will honor the Lord.
The Lord loves it when His people stand up and claim ownership by Him. He particularly likes it when they back up their words by living like they mean every word of it.
On the one hand …“Whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).
And on the other … “God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Hebrews 11:16).
Hey, Christian, don’t you need a little excitement in your life? Aren’t you tired of the humdrum of daily existence?
Stand up for Jesus, step forward for Him, and speak up for Him.
Now, stick around, and let’s see what happens.
This article first appeared on Baptist Press. Joe McKeever is a freelance writer and cartoonist.