First-Person: Your faith, on trial
We all are on trial for our faith whether we live in a Christian persecuting country or not. .
By David Jeremiah
11/30/2009 Eritrea (BP)–Many Christians around the world are on trial for their faith. The persecution of Christians in Islamic, communist and totalitarian lands is increasing at a frightening rate.
Eritrea is a good example. It’s a tiny nation of nearly four million people, situated in the rugged mountains alongside the Red Sea . In May 2002, the government closed many of the nation’s churches and denied legal status to about 20,000 evangelical Christians. In the years since, a brutal campaign has been waged in Eritrea against Christian minorities. Hundreds of believers have been imprisoned and are literally facing trial.
Most of us will never actually stand as a defendant in the courtroom, having to defend our faith. But in another sense, we’re on trial every day. The world is watching us, weighing our testimonies, and looking for evidence of our faith. Our teammates, school friends and work associates are quick to detect inconsistencies in our lives. Our unsaved family members will be influenced by our example, whether good or bad.
Could a good case be made against you that you really are a Christian? At least four pieces of incriminating evidence should convict you of being a Christian. If you were on the jury considering the evidence against you, what verdict would you reach?
— The physical evidence.
— The testimonial evidence.
It’s hard to be a witness for Christ if people never see your changed life or hear your spoken testimony. Would your life convince another that Christ really does possess transforming power? Have you shared Him with a friend recently? Have you spoken up for Christ? Has anyone asked you a reason for the hope that is within you? How would you vote in the jury chamber?
Guilty or not Guilty?
— The behavioral evidence.
Colossians 3:1-3 says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Do you exhibit Christ’s peace in times of crisis? Show others His love in times of tension? Demonstrate His values in this age of materialism and entertainment? Can others see the “mind of Christ” reflected in your thinking and behavior? How would a jury find you on this count?
Guilty or not Guilty?
— The fingerprint evidence.
Most of us underrate ourselves. We often feel like failures when it comes to the Christian life. But remember: “It is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Jesus said that as we follow Him, He will make us become fishers of men (Mark 1:17).