2001-09-13 - On Trial
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (NAS)
During the past week or so, several foreign aid workers in Afghanistan have been arrested on charges of preaching Christianity in the devoutly Muslim nation. I have only gotten bits and pieces, and there is not a lot of solid information available. It is difficult to know fact from speculation at this point. I do know that Islamic law can be very strict and unyielding at times. In some places in the Muslim world today a thief can still have the hand he stole with removed with a sword stroke. In other facets, it appears to have some of the principles of what we would call rule of order that we would expect. There are some facets missing entirely. There are difficulties like a language barrier to overcome in this case, a large dose of uncertainty and a great deal of international attention. Prayer for this situation can not be overstressed.
In a very similar light, we are on trial every day. As an instructor, I can tell you that at least as much is caught from your energy and enthusiasm and is taught by the words coming out of your mouth. If you have no passion or show no real level of interest in the material, you might as well send the students home. Conversely, a little excitement and fresh air in the lesson will help the class focus and grasp the information being passed out to them. Christianity is not a Sunday and Wednesday thing we do. It is not a book or a set of rules. Christianity is a lifestyle. Our faith, gratitude and passion for the Lord Who reached into the pit and pulled us out is what should come out in our daily lives. Will we have down days, off days - yes, certainly. Should we have something flowing out of our lives that the people around us want? Absolutely.
The question has been asked: If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Check the list of nine attributes that demonstrate the Holy Spirit living in our lives. How many can you count in yourself and how often? I ask this not to criticize, but to critique or encourage. It is very easy to get our eyes off of Jesus Christ and on to our daily trials and frustrations, but these are passing and temporal. Some are longer term and more difficult. Friends will come along side you to lift you up and encourage you. Jesus promised never to leave or forsake you. You may have a trial all of your life, but it will end and you will at last be set free in death and resurrection to eternal life - be your trial physical or emotional, whatever - it will end.
Until the day you are delivered, be glad for those who stick by you and care for you. Thank the God Who sends those special friends and keeps you going and walks with you. There is no law that condemns love or joy or peace. If I have to be guilty of something, that sounds like a good set of charges to be read at my hearing. Work on being guilty. Amen.
Grace & Peace,