Profession has convincing power only when it is lived out in real life.
Seventh-day Adventists are found in most countries of the world. Revelation 14:12 tells us why. This apocalyptic passage describes two key values and truths that measure Christian faith. They are saving faith in Jesus as humanity’s only Saviour, and obedience to God’s commandments. These eternal values create peace, joy, and happiness in human life.
THE CALL TO LOYALTY
Loyalty to Jesus as Lord is critical to the credibility of our witness. Disloyal living means total spiritual failure.
Ellen White observed: “We deny Jesus Christ as the One who taketh away the sins of the world if we do not, after accepting the truth, reveal to the world the sanctifying effects of the truth on our own characters. If we are not better men and women, if we are not more kindhearted, more pitiful, more courteous, more full of tenderness and love, if we do not manifest to others the love that led Jesus to the world on His mission of mercy, we are not witnesses to the world of the power of Jesus Christ.”*
A LOVING EXAMPLE
We cannot convincingly share Jesus’ love with others before we experience it ourselves. We cannot share what we do not have. The world is full of people searching for love and acceptance, longing for peace and happiness. They quickly know if we are fakes. But sincerity wins many hearts.
Tom was the son of Christian parents. He was baptized at 15, along with his friends. It was what everyone expected him to do. He was not really converted. He married a beautiful Christian woman, but that did not keep him from joining those who travel on the wide road that leads to destruction. Many years later his wife invited a pastor to have a Bible study group in their home. Tom was not interested, but he did not argue, as he and the pastor were friends.
Unknown to everyone, Tom listened to the Bible studies from another room. After a few weeks, he joined the group, sitting inconspicuously near the door. He witnessed the changes in the life of his wife and the other group members. Tom loved their honesty in admitting mistakes and making changes in their lives. One night he started to cry. Not ordinary tears, but tears of joy and sorrow. He testified: “I never understood the Adventist message. Listening to these studies, I saw Jesus in a new light. God has given me a second chance and a new pair of eyes. I see things differently.”
He was baptized because he discovered a compelling love that was genuine and infectious.
A HEALING OBEDIENCE
Obedience is a much maligned and misunderstood truth. Obeying God’s commandments ultimately leads to the healing of humanity and always benefits the individuals who practice it. It’s a true expression of our love for Jesus. John wrote: “This is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
A young woman, age 18, left home for university. During the first week she discovered that one of her lectures was on a Friday evening after sunset. She went to see the lecturer, explaining that as a Seventh-day Adventist she kept the seventh-day Sabbath and would be unable to attend Friday evening lectures. The lecturer expressed his disappointment but refused to alter the time. Rather than being intimidated by the difficult situation, the young woman took the problem to God.
A week later the lecturer informed the class that he had hanged the lecture time to Friday morning. Unknown to her, he had contacted church headquarters and asked, “Is it true that Seventh-day Adventists observe the Saturday Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday?” Learning that this was correct, he altered the time of the lecture.
The result was a double blessing. It confirmed the young woman in her faith; it influenced her lecturer and led him to respect her; and it acquainted him with the Adventist faith and lifestyle.
CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR BLESSING
The values and truths of God’s kingdom have no power to bless those who know them, and influence those who do not know them, unless they are joyfully lived out in the life and behavior of church members. Profession has convincing power only when it is lived out in real life. When we do what is right, honest, and true, and stand up for the biblical values of God’s kingdom, we create possibilities for God not only to act on our behalf, but to touch the lives of others.
Consider this query from the psalmist: “Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?” (Ps. 15:1). The answer is clear: “The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord” (verses 2-4).
Our world is fractured and confused. This is true wherever Seventh-day Adventists are found. In order to live out our faith in public, we must prepare and grow it in private. God challenged Jeremiah to “go up and down the streets of Jerusalem,” looking for one person who dealt honestly and sought the truth (Jer. 5:1). Today God still looks for such people: those who will deal honestly with the things they discover in God’s written word, who live out truth, have faith in Jesus, and walk in His commandments.
Each of us may respond positively to Him saying, “Dear Lord, I will be that faithful person. Help me to be what I should be as a true Christian.” Our response creates opportunities for God to bless us and those we touch. This is our delight as Seventh-day Adventists.
Questions for Reflection
- How can we live our lives in a manner that reflects our faith?
- What do we need to change in our lives so that our testimony is credible to others?
- Only the Holy Spirit’s work can truly fix our lives. How can we find the courage to set Him free to do just that? What would stop us from responding to Him?
* Ellen G White, That I May Know Him (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1964), p. 306.