On trial

Read: Deuteronomy 11-13, Mark 13:1-13

I’ve never been on trial. I’ve never been to a trial. The closest I’ve been to trial is walking past the courthouse with my groceries. What I know of court and the process involved in a trial mostly comes from television. I take it all with a grain of salt because I assume that much of it is made to be much more dramatic than real life for the sake of cramming an entire case into forty-two minutes.

But one thing I do know is that, when a witness is to take the stand, a lawyer will prepare that witness. They will go over any and all questions that may be asked of them and refine responses in order to support a certain narrative and press a desired outcome.

Jesus has a discussion with his disciples about standing trial.

Mark 13-11

Notice he doesn’t say, “If you are arrested and brought to trial.” He says, “Whenever.” It’s a sure thing. This life we’ve been called to will most certainly earn us our day in front of a judge.

Right now, our judge is the rest of the world. Christians all around are being put on trial—both in the courtroom and out of it. We are being challenged on our faith and the very core of our beliefs. And the sad part is, in many instances, we’re losing our case.

Why? Because we’re not listening to our lawyer. He’s there prompting us, telling us what to say. Some of us ignore him or block him out. Others don’t even know he’s there, wanting to help.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him, But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

John 14:16-17 (NIV)

Counselor is another term for a lawyer, specifically a trial lawyer. So it makes sense that, if Jesus expected us to be on trial, he’d also provide the lawyer. Like anyone on trial, if we want to win, first we need to accept the help of our lawyer. Then we need to take our lawyer’s advice. He’s the expert. We’re not. In the case of our Counselor, the Holy Spirit, he actually speaks through us. If we let him.

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 14:26 (NIV)

Accepting Jesus is the first part of our Christian walk. Accepting the Holy Spirit ensures that we are able to continue that walk and stand firm.

Brace yourself

No one likes to answer the hard questions. I don’t mean the ones that challenge your knowledge of useless facts. I mean the ones that challenge your very existence. The questions that make you question the things you’ve build your life around. These questions are uncomfortable. They may make you squirm. They may hurt. You can choose to ignore them, but they’ll probably show up again down the road. Most of the time, it’s best to face them head on.

After Job has spent several chapters pleading to argue his case against God, God shows up in a whirlwind.

Brace yourself, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.

Job 38:3 (NLT)

In one way or another, we all have to answer for our choices. Job now has to answer to God for all he has said while afflicted. It won’t be pretty. His discomfort has only just begun. It’s going to hit hard. Why else would God tell him to brace himself? Other versions say things like, prepare yourself like a man, now get ready to face me!, or now get ready to fight.

The time has come for Job to face the music and take accountability for all he has said.

Have you put yourself in a place where God must tell you to brace yourself? Have you made up your mind about something without consulting Him first? Will His truth hurt or will it comfort?

When it came down to it, all Job had said against God turned out to be petty and, well, wrong. Everything he had based his argument on was proven false in just a couple of chapters. The truth hit him like a tonne of bricks and he could either accept it and move on or continue to fight against God.

If you choose to fight against God, brace yourself. It won’t be pretty.

If you choose to accept God’s correction, you may still have to brace yourself for the truth and correction, but once it’s over, you’ll find yourself back on the side of truth and wisdom without the need to fight any longer.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is stand up, get ready to face God, brace ourselves, and accept the correction that’s coming. Because after correction comes comfort.

Daily Bible reading: Job 38-39, Acts 15:1-21

No hesitation

David was just a kid when he took on Goliath. He was never supposed to be on the battlefield. He was only there because he was bringing supplies to his brothers and would be bringing a report back to his father. As the youngest of eight sons, David had no business being where he was at that time.

For forty days, Goliath stood before Israel’s army with an invitation to fight. For forty days, Israel’s army shuddered in fear at the thought of taking on the giant. In one instant, David heard the challenge and had heard more than enough. He was filled with righteous indignation when he heard the nerve that Goliath had to mock God’s people. This kid was the first person to man up.

As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him.

1 Samuel 17:48 (NLT)

 

When the rest of the army hesitated, they made room for fear. Every minute they waited to slay the giant, was another minute fear was allowed to take root.

HES’ITATE, verb, to strop or pause respecting decision or action; to be doubtful as to fact, principle or determination; to be in suspense or uncertainty.

David didn’t hesitate. I believe that, the moment he heard the challenge, he accepted it—even before he said anything to anyone else.

How was David able to do what the rest of the army could not?

David shouted in reply, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord Almighty—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you…

1 Samuel 17:45-46b (NLT)

With the Spirit of the Lord mightily upon him (1 Samuel 16:13), David knew exactly who he was and who was fighting not only with him, but for him.

“And everyone will know that the Lord does not need weapons to rescue his people. It is his battle, not ours. the Lord will give you to us!”

1 Samuel 17:47 (NLT)

With God’s Spirit living in us and God fighting our battles for us, why do we, like the Israelite army hesitate? Why do we pause long enough to allow fear into our lives? We should all be like David, running out to meet our giants head on.

If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Romans 8:31b (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: 1 Samuel 17-18, Luke 15:1-10

Every Day

I’m not good at talking to people. Socialising is about the last thing on my list of things I enjoy doing. When it comes to sharing the Gospel, I’m usually at a complete loss as where to start.

And I’m quite sure I’m not alone in this struggle.

But I wonder what would happen if we all worked on it? How many people could we reach if we just started talking about Jesus. Not as some far off being we sort of believe in, but as a real person whom we have a real relationship with.

In the book of Acts, the apostles were imprisoned because they spoke of Jesus. When an angel came to let them out, he said:

Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.

Acts 5:20 (ESV)

Of course, we know that this Life is Jesus. They weren’t commissioned to speak some of Jesus’ words or just the ones that they liked, but all of his words.

By the end of the chapter, the apostles had been called before the council, beaten and let go, and told not to talk about Jesus. So what did they do?

And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 5:42 (ESV)

Do you think that maybe we could work on talking about Jesus? And not just about him, but speaking his words. His words of Truth and Life. It’s going to be a challenge for most of us.

But if we don’t speak all the words of this Life, who will?