The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him. Proverbs 18:17.
For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
Search me, oh God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24.
Opposition is a way of life. And for those who love the Lord and claim him as Savior the opposition is relentless from the Evil One. Our opposition comes from the culture, the workplace, and even sometimes our own families. Brother Gearl asked us a simple question Sunday: How do you deal with opposition? We only have two choices. We avoid it by running from it, or we face it and deal with it. We do not have the choice to ignore it.
Brother Gearl used the analogy of testifying on the witness stand in a trial. When a witness testifies for either the prosecution or the defense, the opposing counsel gets the opportunity to cross-examine the witness. Many times it’s the cross-examination that convinces the jurors of the witness’s credibility.
In the case against God’s children it’s the Cross examination of our hearts that reveals the credibility of our witness. Before testifying all witnesses place their right hand on a Bible and take an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, “so help me God.”
As Brother Gearl taught us Sunday, if we want to be prepared to be witnesses for Christ, and be bold in the face of opposition, we need to follow biblical principles to make sure our witness is credible and that we can handle opposition in a way that brings glory to God.
Opposition confronts us in a variety of ways. Some of them can create seemingly unbearable pain. When we encounter pain in our lives it can consume us, if we allow it. If it doesn’t consume us, Brother Gearl offered the principle that it distracts us from God’s purpose for our lives, again, if we allow it.
Or, the opposition we face can embolden us. It can give us new energy and courage to face our opposition with integrity. In his lesson, Brother Gearl reminded us that when Paul and his followers came to Thessalonica they had suffered persecution and mistreatment at the hands of the Philippians. Did they turn tail and run? No. Did they become disheartened and worry about what they would find in Thessalonica? No, Paul said they “had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God.” They were committed to on target living.
Were they worried about what the Philippians thought about them? Or what the Thessalonians might think of them? No, they weren’t trying to please men, but God,” another principle for dealing with opposition Brother Gearl taught us Sunday.
How does on target living validate our authenticity to others? By being faithful to God and His will for our lives. And when we exhort, encourage and implore others to live our lives with integrity, and walk in a manner worthy of our spiritual maturity, we will validate our witness in our circle of influence and impact others with our testimony.