19 But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.”20 So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them. — Mark 5:19, 20 NLT
Do you remember the joy and the excitement that came into your life when you first accepted Jesus as your Savior? Some of us felt great burdens lifted from us and immediately experienced freedom from some of our old habits. Others just felt a peace that they had never had before. Either way, most of us suddenly felt a great desire to tell somebody about what had just happened. Our lives were changed for the better. It was the beginning of a journey with Jesus. That journey has and will continue to take us through experiences and situations that will try us. Each of these experiences will be an opportunity for us to grow closer to the Lord or a temptation for us to become bitter. That choice is up to us. If we choose correctly, we will find that we always come through those times a little stronger than we were before. Our initial joy will be increased becaused of the victories that we have over these situations. Those victories comes from Jesus Christ, just as our salvation came from His actions at Calvary. Each of these experiences of overcoming temptation and suffering is another story we can use to tell people about Jesus. They aren’t just for our benefit, they are to be shared so that others will come to know Jesus. They are to be shared with those around us where we are right now. It is not necessary to change your vocation. When Jesus sent the disciples out, He instructed them to do tell others “as you go”.
7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. — Matt. 10:7. 8 NIV
1 “I have told you these things to keep you from giving up. 2 People will put you out of their synagogues. Yes, the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are offering service to God. 3 They will do this because they have not known the Father and they have not known me. 4 I have told you these things now so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. “I did not tell you these things at the beginning, because I was with you then. 5 Now I am going back to the One who sent me. But none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?–John 16:1-5 NCV
Jesus is warning His disciples and us that there will be times when the path will not be so smooth. There will be times when we are mistreated and offended for the Gospel’s sake, but we need to press on. Paul thought he was doing a service for God when he was persecuting and killing Christians. He was walking in darkness but he encountered a powerful Light that changed his life. As long as Jesus was here with the disciples He knew that He would be the target for all the abuse. But now that He was leaving, He knew that He had to reinforce the things He had been teaching them. We need that same encouragement every day in our lives. It is easy for us to become frustrated and want to give up, but we have a friend that sticks closer to us than a brother. He is always with us. As Paul learned after his life-changing event, we must suffer with Christ. There is a cross for each of us to bear. But we must remember and hang onto the conclusion that Paul came to in his journey. 18 The sufferings we have now are nothing compared to the great glory that will be shown to us. 19 Everything God made is waiting with excitement for God to show his children’s glory completely.—Romans 8:18,19 NCV
6 God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again–Philippians 1:6 NCV
14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.–Phil. 2;4-18 (NLT)
Joy is contagious and it attracts other people to us when we are joyful. No one wants to spend all day, every day, with a complainer. So, if we want to attract others to Jesus, we should serve with a heart full of joy. That joy should be as pure as the joy of a small child. It should have no pretense, people can easily see through that. We want to be bright lights leading others to Jesus. We should be the kind of lights that cause as much excitement and joy as a lighthouse on a shore that is being beaten by crashing sea waves causes when it is seen by the lookout on a ship. Our lights should warn people of the dangers of sin just as surely as the lighthouse warns sailors of the danger of rocks. Keep your lights trimmed and burning bright by studying and meditating on God’s Word daily. Spend time each day with just you and Jesus.