By Jiang Shen
Exalting and testifying to God, this is what God requires from us believers and is what we should do as Christians. In each thing in real life, we should practice exalting and testifying to God. Only thus can we live valuably and meaningfully and gain God’s approval. But how should we practice it? Then let’s talk about four principles of exalting and testifying to God.
1. We should magnify and exalt God, have hearts of reverence for God, absolutely obey and worship God, and not worship or be constrained by people.
God’s words say, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve” (Matthew 4:10). “1. Man should not magnify himself, nor exalt himself. He should worship and exalt God. … 8. People whoshould obey God and worship Him. You should not exalt or look up to any person” (“The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom”). God’s words clearly tell us: No matter what we do, we should put God first in our hearts, let God reign within us, exalt God, and magnify God; we shouldn’t worship or look up to any person, nor be constrained by any person, but let reign within us. Whether in our personal lives or in our working and preaching for the Lord and spreading the gospel of the Lord, we should absolutely submit under God’s authority, and not worship or look up to any person. Exalting and testifying to God among man is the principle that we must follow.
Just asrecords that Peter and the other apostles always spread and testified to the gospel of the without being constrained by high priests. Acts 5:27–30, 32 says: “And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straightly command you that you should not teach in this name? and, behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood on us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you slew and hanged on a tree. … And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him.” From this we can see although priests had high position so that many people followed and listened to them, Peter and the other apostles weren’t constrained by their high position and powerful influence, and also didn’t look up to or worship them. They didn’t stop testifying that the Lord Jesus is God Himself, is and has redeemed mankind just because the priests didn’t allow them to do that; instead, they spread the Lord’s gospel as always. And also, when they were frenziedly arrested and persecuted by the Roman government, they still exalted and testified to without fearing its power or being constrained.
Therefore, we should follow the examples of generations of saints: putting God first in our hearts. Regardless of the environment, we shouldn’t give up testifying to God just because of being constrained by others’ position and influence. This is the first aspect of practice in exalting and testifying to God.
2. We must communicate truth and the knowledge of God according to God’s words and lead people to understand God’s words, enter into the reality, and come before God.
God’s word says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “Bearing testimony means speaking of His work and all that you have experienced” (‘Practice (7)’). So we should do in accordance with God’s words: When working and preaching, we should fellowship about our experiences and understanding of God’s words with brothers and sisters, letting them through our fellowship know how God’s work changes us and removes our inner wrong imaginations and conceptions and our own ideas. We should also commune with brothers and sisters about how we practice God’s words and how God’s words lead us to conduct ourselves. For example, God requires us to be honest persons. Then when we fellowship with brothers and sisters, we should share our experiences and testimonies about how we enter into the reality of being honest persons step by step. If we always practice like this, it will allow others to know God’s work and wondrous deeds and bring them before God.
If we don’t work like this but speak letters and doctrines, it cannot achieve the result of exalting and testifying to God. Just like the chief priests and Pharisees in the end of the Age of Law, they didn’t practice according to God’s words but spoke literal meaning when preaching the Bible, and spoke ancient traditions and religious rituals. They all spoke and worked for protecting their own status and livelihood. They didn’t exalt and testify to God in the slightest. In the end, not only did they not bring people of Israel before God, but they brought the people before them. As a result, when the Lord Jesus came to work, the people of Israel had no knowledge of the Lord but followed them to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross, suffering the loss of their nation. Let’s see how Peter and other apostles did: When working and preaching, they exalted the Lord’s words, talked how they recognized that the Lord is the coming Messiah from His words, and witnessed the Lord to those who longed for the return of the Messiah, letting God have a place in people’s hearts and letting more people come before God to worship and obey God. Peter’s and the disciples’ working like this is exalting and testifying to God, is worthwhile for us to follow. So when we believe in God, not only should we ourselves practice according to God’s words, but we should testify to God’s work and word to lead others and bring them before God. This is the second aspect of practice in exalting and testifying to God.
3. We must uphold truth to protect God’s work, and not give in to the forces of Satan. We must use God’s words to resolve all problems of us.
God’s words say, “In the church, you shall stand firm in your testimony to Me, uphold truth—right is right and wrong is wrong—and do not confuse black and white. You shall be at war with Satan and must completely vanquish it so that it never rises. You must sacrifice everything to protect My testimony. This shall be the goal of your actions, do not forget this” (“The Forty-first Utterance”). From God’s words, we know that if we want to practice exalting and testifying to God, we must uphold the Lord’s way in any environment, not giving in to Satan’s forces.
Just as the Bible records, when Job encountered the temptation from Satan, “Then said his wife to him, Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die. But he said to her, You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:9–10). From this it can be seen that Job wasn’t constrained by emotions, and didn’t yield to the forces of Satan. When his wife laughed at him, he didn’t follow his wife’s opinion to curse God, but stood on God’s side and scolded her for her foolishness, stubbornness, and complaint. And when Job’s three friends laughed at and censured him, even judged and condemned him, Job still kept the Lord’s way, believing that what God does is the best, never wrong. In these things, Job didn’t sin with his lips. No matter what his wife and three friends said, he wasn’t constrained by them, but stood firmly on God’s side. He overcame the temptation from Satan, stood witness for God, and finally saw God spoke to him out of the whirlwind, gaining God’s blessing to him.
So, no matter what things we encounter, no matter how disadvantageous they are to our flesh, we shouldn’t yield to Satan but firmly protect God’s work and testimony, like Job. For example, when we encounter sickness of our bodies or some misfortunes, our unbelieving family members, relatives, and friends will oppose and obstruct ourand say some satirical and ironical words. At this time, we should stand on God’s side, not giving in to the forces of Satan. If they have a good humanity, we should testify to God’s name and work to them, allowing them to accept God’s gospel and gain benefits from it. This is the third aspect of manifestation of exalting and testifying to God.
4. We must place importance on following example of Christ in work so that we can practice according to God’s words and achieve doing things according to principles, living out the likeness of Christians to glorify God.
The Lord Jesus said: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14–16). “Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
From the Lord’s words, we can see that we should put the Lord’s teachings into practice and follow example of the Lord, loving neighbors as ourselves, and tolerating and forgiving others. For example, when we assist brothers and sisters who are negative and weak, as long as they are true believers, we should move them with love and help them with patience. We should read God’s words together with them, from which we can find the root of their negativity and weakness and the way of practice, making them walk out of the negative situation. For another example, when we come to know other brothers and sisters have opinions of us, we not only can’t be negative and don’t hate or refuge them, but can pursue the truth as always, forgive and tolerate them, and get along with them normally. We can take on God’s heart as our own and have love to God and person. Thus, we do have the likeness of Christians. So in our work, we should keep the Lord’s teachings in mind, not stray from the Lord’s words, and learn from the Lord. Moreover, we also should forgive brothers and sisters, treat them with love, forgiveness, and tolerance, and pursue satisfying God in all things. This is the fourth aspect of practice in exalting and testifying to God.
These four aspects above are the most basic requirements that we Christians should put into practice to exalt and testify to God in all things. If we don’t exalt and testify to God in our lives, we are not after God’s will. On the contrary, if we practice with a heart of loving and fearing God according to these four principles, we can exalt and testify to God in anything, anytime. And then God’s words will become the lamp to our feet and the light to our path. We can live in the light and become qualified Christians. And we can certainly gain God’s approval.
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Now, disasters are occurring frequently everywhere. In the Philippines, the pandemic and the famine have not passed yet and powerful Typhoon Molave, Goni and Tropical Storm Atsani have landed. Biblical prophecies of the coming of the Lord have been fulfilled. It stands to reason that the Lord has returned—so why have we yet to welcome His arrival? Will we not be plunged into the great tribulation if this carries on? And just what should we do to welcome the Lord’s coming?