April 2022 by Walter Olsen
When Jacob was about to separate from his uncle Laban he said to him, “The Lord has blessed you since my coming” (Gen. 30:30). This should be the testimony of every believer in his relationship to others. Others should be blessed because of our relationship to them.
Some of the ways others should be blessed by our presence among them would include the following:
They should be blessed with a witness of God’s presence in our life. They should see something of the love, joy, and peace in our lives as we walk daily with the Lord Jesus. Generally, people are encouraged by the love, joy and peace that they see in the lives of others. Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world...Let your light so shine before men...” (Matt. 5:14, 16). Love, joy, and peace are really the fruit of the Spirit. No one can really produce such fruit in themselves, though there may be a limited imitation of such. If it is not of God, it will be limited and lack in reality. The fruit that endures regarding love, joy, and peace is the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace...” (Gal. 5:22). It is the genuiness of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer that truly blesses others.
This witness of the Spirit should not be limited only to the good times of life, but also be evident in the more difficult times. Yes, there may be disappointment and suffering, but still the witness of the Spirit will be evident in the life of the believer walking with God. My life has been greatly blessed by the witness of the Spirit in the lives of some who knew both the good times and the times of extreme challenge and suffering.
They should be blessed by seeing something of a witness of honesty in all of our dealings with them. Jacob was honest in his dealings with Laban even though it cost him much personally.
There is no substitute for honesty in the Christian’s life. To be dishonest is to lose something of great value including one’s respect by others when one’s dishonesty is found out. As the Bible says, “...be sure your sin will be found out” (Numb.32:23).
Also, God knows every decision of the heart. Consider the dishonesty of Ananias and Sapphira regarding the land they sold and their decision to hold back part of the profit. They could not hide their sin from God and they paid dearly for their indiscretion. “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?...Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (Acts 5:3-4). The judgment of God was swift and sure. Both fell down dead as soon as they were confronted!
While we are not judged in the same way today with immediate death, there is a kind of death in our own hearts when we are dishonest with others. The death I am referring to is the death of personal well-being, the awesome conviction of our sin of being dishonest with others. Sometimes people live for years knowing in their hearts they have been dishonest. It is indeed a heavy burden to bear. How much better to bring their dishonesty to God and ask His forgiveness and then to make any confession necessary to those who have been lied to! This may be hard to do, but it will bring a wonderful sense of cleansing and freedom! It may also bring a restoration of friendship and a strengthening of one’s witness for the Lord.
They should be blessed by seeing a faithfulness to live a godly and pure life. The believer who allows himself or herself to be sullied by the world has no real testimony to others. The believer is to be set apart from all things that defile and that would thus hinder his fellowship with the Lord and his witness to others. The Bible puts it very clearly in the following familiar passage, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I Jn. 2:15-16). The world referred to here is not the physical world we live in, but the world system of unredeemed man.
Before salvation, all believers were part of the world system with its attractions to a sinful lifestyle.
The matter of living a godly and pure life is not something done out of duty, but is rather the change of life brought to one’s life because of the indwelling presence of the Lord Jesus.
They should be blessed by seeing something of a witness to trustworthiness. People about us should be able to know that we are trustworthy in all things. To be trustworthy means to be faithful to one’s word, to his commitment to others, to his given responsibilities. People should not have to wonder whether we will follow through on various promises given. To be untrustworthy dims one’s testimony to others and his witness to them.
Being trustworthy should apply to every circumstance of life. To be only partially trustworthy is like a half rotted pillar. It cannot be trusted to bear the assigned burden.
They should be blessed by seeing a witness of hopefulness. The world desperately needs hope today. They need to know that everything is eventually going to be ok. Christians always have hope because of the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible. There is the hope of the Lord providing for our daily needs. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things [we have need of] shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). The Lord knows what we have need of even before we ask Him. Thankfully, the believer can pray, “...give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).
Only true believers can have the assurance that everything is going to be ok, that things will turn out for the best, even if in this life there may be some suffering and deprivation. The believer has a living hope, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (I Pet. 1:3-4).The truth of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis of all the believer’s hope!
Thus, the believer need not be pessimistic about the future. Yes, there are many things to be concerned about and to pray about, but we have a Savior who is bigger and stronger than all our fears! Part of our answer is to obey Peter’s admonition, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” (I Pe. 5:7)
They should be blessed by seeing a witness of genuine love and concern for others. Christians do not live as unto themselves. They live in major part that they may minister to and be an encouragement and help to others. Indeed, John said, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death” (I Jn. 3:14). John goes on to say, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (I Jn. 3:16-17).
Showing genuine love for others is more than doing a good deed or turn for someone on occasion. Genuine love is the love of God cast abroad in the believer’s heart. It is thus a continuing condition of the heart, a condition that naturally shows itself in the love and care of others.
They should be blessed by seeing a faithfulness to worship God. This certainly includes faithfulness to a Gospel preaching local church. I am very thankful that my parents were faithful to their local church. In many ways, it set the direction for my life. Their faithfulness included faithful attendance to the services and faithfulness in their giving and serving in any way they could.
However, faithfulness to worship God really begins in the heart. Apart from worshiping God in the heart, there really is no worship. The Gospel is clear, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9-10). Thus, any form of worship without the heart is a false worship. Form and good works may be done without any true worship from the heart.
This is so significant in the world today. Multitudes of people go though some kind of form hoping to appease God on their own terms, but God cannot be appeased or satisfied by anything we may do. God the Father is only pleased with the shed blood of Jesus, His Son! We stand justified in His work on our behalf, not ours. Faithfulness to worship God also includes such things as personal study of the Word of God, time spent in prayer, and fellowship with other believers. As believers, we need the fellowship and sometimes the correction of others who also know and love the Lord.
They should be blessed by seeing a Godly, consistent response to trials. Everybody has trials and it is how we respond to them that becomes either a witness or a detraction to our Christian testimony. As the Word of God exhorts, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).
They should be blessed by seeing faithfulness to one’s private and public responsibilities. The believer who is walking with God is faithful to his employment and to his duties as a citizen. “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor” (Rom. 13:7).
They should be blessed by seeing an evidence of our love for the Word of God, perhaps as we quote it or make reference to its truth.
They should be blessed by seeing something of the purpose of our lives. They should see that we are not living for ourselves and for what we may be able to gain in this life. “...Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). Indeed, the believer’s purpose in life is God Himself.
They should be blessed by seeing something of our desire and effort to share the truth of God with others.
They should be blessed by seeing the evidence of our prayer lives. Jesus said, “…pray to the Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matt. 6:6). They should be able to see that we have been with Jesus.
They should be blessed by seeing that we use our finances and earthly goods wisely. Godly believers are willing to share with others in need.
They should be blessed by seeing see that we do not treat our enemies as the world does.
This article is considerably longer than we have room for here, but I believe it is important because it is so easy to be careless in living the Christian life. Then, beyond that, I believe many have never really entered much into the reality of the Christian life. They have never had much of a personal encounter with God and thus they fail to know the real essence of the Christian life. Confession of sin and growth of faith is much needed today.
March has been a pretty much normal month. It has been exciting to see the seasons begin to change. We have finally had some warmer weather! One day BJ and I drove up to Barron to meet Harley and Dorothy and from there we drove to Rice Lake for some delicious pizza.
It has been a blessing to have Tim and Dan visit us regularly. They are a great help with many things.
If you would like to add anyone to our mailing list for The Sonshine, please give me their names and addresses. There is no charge. Our goal is to share the glorious truth of the Gospel. People desperately need the salvation and peace that only God Himself can give.