By: Gabriela Yareliz
At the end of a trial, you have an opportunity to sum up your strongest points and remind the judge of the holes in the other side’s strategy and testimony. It’s your last word; the last impression you are leaving before the listeners retreat to make sense of everything they just heard. The judge then takes time to think and issue a final decision.
In final arguments, one highlights the main point. It’s the time to highlight why we heard so much testimony, and what it points to is spelled out for the judge in direct statements.
As Christians, I find that we often get sidetracked into so many topics of discussion and debate. We focus a lot on lifestyle and Christian living, and we also focus a lot on ideals. I used to work at a Christian book store, and we had sections for eating right, parenting right, courting right, marrying right, etc., and don’t get me wrong– how we live is important.
How we live doesn’t save us, however. Instead, our lives should reflect the honor we want to give God because we love Him and accept His sacrifice on our behalf. Our lives should be wrapped in His truth and standards because they will save us from much heartache and help restore His image in us, not because they make us better than anyone or allow us to judge from where we stand.
It’s all about Jesus. Christianity isn’t about motherhood; it isn’t about who has the most modest dress; it isn’t about getting married or not being single; it isn’t about being the healthiest of the bunch– these are all great things we can have the opportunity to experience in our journey, but they aren’t endgame.
Our purpose as humans, as children of God and as witnesses is to bring glory to Him and to accept the gift of salvation that is offered to each person freely, by grace, and through the sacrifice of Jesus. That’s it.
I believe we will avoid many heartaches, disappointments and frustrations if we refocus our perspective on our true purpose and not on all the little pieces of life and lifestyle that we tend to fixate on.
We are to honor God in every season of our lives, keeping in mind that God hasn’t promised us an easy life, a life where we get what we want or even sometimes what we think we need. Instead, what He does promise us is an opportunity to have His image restored in us. He offers redemption, salvation and eternity. He doesn’t promise us a spouse, a child, a dream job or material possessions– He offers us one thing that is better than everything else combined– He offers us Himself. When we see the world, our lives and our purpose in this way, the way we see life and others will change. The witness we give to the world will change.
“Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take us his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matthew 16: 24-27
Jesus tells His witnesses plainly that this life is about soul business. It’s about salvation. Our greatest desire should be to see the face of God. If it’s not, then we are harboring idols in our lives.
His wisdom speaks volumes. He says we have a cross to carry. Crosses are heavy. How we carry our cross is our witness. The role of hope, peace, faith and love cannot be underestimated.
The price is denying oneself. This is a sacrifice and choice that we make. Our choice is made that much more clearer as the passage goes on. Notice the language, it says that by gaining the whole world, man “forfeits” his soul. To forfeit means a type of surrender, one a person is typically informed he/she will have to do as a result of something. To have eternity, however, we forfeit self.
Jesus doesn’t leave us on our own to walk and struggle, but again, He promises Himself. His presence carries us through the darkest moments.
OUR GREATEST MESSAGE
Notice that the passage above isn’t so much about what we say, but we are called to action. It’s about what we do; how we walk; how we carry our cross; how we deny ourselves.
Your greatest message, my dear friend, is your life. It’s the perspective you have on this life and eternity. It’s how you love your family, your neighbors, and the most difficult person in your circle. What adds credibility to someone’s words is how they live each and every second.
Sam Allberry said, “Key to our witness and credibility […] is the quality of our life together, and the clarity of our message. We need to be clear on the gospel. Clear that it is good news for everyone.”