TRIAL MONTH: OPENING STATEMENT
By: Gabriela Yareliz
Why be a witness?
What truly drives someone to represent something or share it? Nowadays, people will endorse anything for a quick buck or for an image that will reach thousands– but what drives us?
What drives a follower of Jesus to represent Him and share His life and love? I’d say it boils down to two things:
- Love (for God and your fellow human); and
What leads me, personally, to share a good thing? It’s usually a passion for what I’ve experienced and a love for the person next to me. I don’t want anyone to miss out.
When you experience limitless unfathomable love; when you’ve been rescued and found; when you’ve been seen in a crowd; when your wounds have been tended– you are filled with gratitude and love.
We experience God’s love in our experience when He intervenes in our lives. True love and truth always hold hands.
“True love and truth always hold hands.”
So, what is truth? Pilate, the Roman political leader who stood with Jesus before His crucifixion, once asked Jesus that same question, but he didn’t stick around long enough to hear the answer. The reason why so many of us who claim to want truth feel like we don’t find it is because we are looking for a convenient truth that doesn’t exist. A truth that will allow us to remain the same, when really, truth transforms us.
The late Ravi Zacharias defines truth as “reality as God sees it.” We experience truth through who God is. His character is revealed through the Bible.
To be a witness of truth, we must find and experience truth, first. We must invest in truth, and we must decide and choose what we will give up in the pursuit of truth.
It’s not enough to experience God in powerful moments, but we must seek to know Him and His character, daily. His will unfolds for us, daily. God promises that He will lead us to truth, for He is truth, and the truth will set us free (John 8:32). If we seek Him, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:8). Once we pursue truth, which we will be exploring more deeply in these upcoming days, we must also decide whether we accept His call.
“It’s not enough to experience God in powerful moments, but we must seek to know Him and His character, daily.”
Jesus left His followers with the instruction to love one another (John 13:35) and to make disciples and followers of Jesus from all nations and people (Matthew 28:19). This is the calling.
This calling not only makes us weigh how much we are willing to invest in the pursuit and following of truth, as defined by God, but also how much we are willing to invest and give up of ourselves to share love.
In Acts 1:7-8, Jesus told His followers that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the world.
First, to be a witness, you must have firsthand experiential knowledge. The men He called as witnesses in this passage had walked with Him and experienced life with Him.
Second, to be a witness, you must be willing to move. You must be willing to be inconvenienced, vulnerable, and perhaps, uncomfortable.
Jesus commanded His followers to start in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem = Home
Judea and Samaria = Areas surrounding home
Finally, the instruction is to go to the ends of the world. This idea of the end of the world may not mean you are booking a flight– the end of the world may be across the street in a person who isn’t part of your world.
This is the thing about true service and discipleship– it requires being inconvenienced because true sacrifice is true giving. God is always extravagant in the love He gives, and if we are to be imitators of Him, then our love will be radical.
“God is always extravagant in the love He gives, and if we are to be imitators of Him, then our love will be radical.”
BEFORE YOU GO
Erwin McManus once said, “The Bible is about the outsider. How we treat the person who is different than us is the best measure of us fulfilling Jesus’ mandate to being His love to every human being on the planet.”
So today, we invite you to reflect on who God has placed in your path, in the day-to-day. Think about every single person you interact with– from the barista, to your commute buddy, to the person who always studies around your usual library spot, to the coworkers in your space.
How can you invest in these people in an authentic way? How can you be God’s love to these people?
For further reflection, do you have what is required of a witness? Have you experienced truth? Do you pursue it daily? Are you ready to be in action?
Next, we take the stand for “direct examination.” But first, ask yourself, am I ready to speak and seek truth– nothing but the truth? If you are ready, it’s time to swear you in.
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