Wednesday, February 22, 2012

LESSON SEVEN: “1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times – A Sue Edwards Inductive Bible Study”

Lesson 7 of “1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times – A Sue Edwards Inductive Bible Study” led me to contemplate my effectiveness as a witness. The Bible tells us that we should always be prepared to give an account for the hope that we have. In essence, this means that we should always be ready to share Christ with others because He is our hope.

When I envision a godly woman witnessing for Christ, I see someone who lives sacrificially. She abundantly displays the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) through her actions and her words. She has a genuine love for God’s people and sees the potential that everyone has to be one of God’s people. She looks for opportunities to share Christ with others.

Personally, I don’t live very sacrificially. I still cater to my own desires more often than not. But I am improving: making choices that inconvenience me but make a situation easier on someone else. Praise Jesus! He gives me Joy! I am filled to overflowing and it often comes spilling out. He is working with me this year in the love department, giving me what can only be explained as a supernatural affection for my sisters in Christ. Peace – like a raging river! Oh, yeah! Patience? For the most part, yes. Kindness? Mostly. Goodness? Only when I give God control. Faithfulness? Most of the time. Gentleness? Another thing He’s teaching me right now. Self-control? Depends on the area. I am very self-controlled with Bible study, but not enough in the areas of diet and exercise. The Lord is also showing me right now that it’s up to Him who gets into heaven, not me. He judges according to the heart, not appearance like I do. So, if He brings me someone who asks about the hope I have, He wants me to tell them about Jesus.

When I began treatment for breast cancer over a year and a half ago, I struggled with the ability to see my cancer as a gift from God. But once I grabbed hold of Him and started looking at the opportunity He was giving me to speak to people I never would have met otherwise, I saw it as a blessing and a divine appointment. I asked my chemo nurses and the patients next to me how I could be praying for them. And when I saw them again, I asked how my prayers were answered. It’s easy to remember someone’s prayer request when you actually pray for them.

By this definition, I may be a fair witness for Christ, but I know that I have a lot of room for improvement. Praise Jesus, He teaches me daily, celebrates my progress and forgives my setbacks. When I don’t get it right away, He teaches me again…and again…and again.

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