Christians today are rarely taught that our lives - Christian or not - are a testimony to others. Everyone is an example - a living video - of the consequences of our choices. If we are Christians we are constantly showing those around us the consequences of the Christian faith. And if we are not Christians ( or perhaps we are pretend Christians) we will show others the consequences of that behavior as well.
Philippians 1:12 -14
"Now I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly."
Everything is not "suffering" for Christ. Not finding a front line parking space at Wallmart would not be considered being in chains for Christ. But....giving up a front line parking space to a van loaded with children and a frazzled looking mom could be a "loving and compassionate" Christian act. Instead of fussing at the checkout girl for not moving fast enough - giving her a smile and a vote of confidence will allow others around you to see your faith in action.
Pat Bellew was a dear friend. We were close when I lived in Georgia. Her Christian faith was strong and her dedication to her family and friends went beyond normal acts of love. Unfortunately, she had a lot of physical problems. She was constantly sick with one serious ailment after another. Yet....she never let those problems get in the way of her faith or her service to those around her. She was always upbeat, always lending a hand and doing the very best she could to encourage and help others. I watched her take care of people that were obviously in better health than she was and yet when I tried to be sympathetic she would say, "Oh, I don't mind...I'm glad I can help them." Then she would give me a smile that seemed to light up with God's love.
She was a witness. Her actions were an illustration of how God's love can give you strength and peace even during difficult times.
I've spent my own life trying to live up to the example of Pat. Her witness has given me strength in dark times and courage to continue my work even when my own pain was overwhelming.
I hope we will all ask ourselves a very important question..... "How are my actions at this very moment bearing witness to the love of Christ?" The answer may determine how someone close decides to live their life. The answer will either encourage others or cause them to walk away from their faith.
God loves you,