In this age in which emotions hold more weight than facts, God has called His children to take a stand for His truth. But we cannot fight for truth in our own strength—or in our own wisdom.
Read Jude 1:20-25. Do you know someone who believes the truth, preaches the truth and defends the truth, but in doing so comes across as angry, unloving and unmerciful? If so, please know that this is not how God would have us live for Him. We can contend for the faith without being contentious.
God has called us to keep ourselves in His love and be merciful to those who doubt (see vv. 21-22). In fact, the Bible tells us to always speak the truth in love—in a mature, Christlike spirit—not out of bitterness, pride, hatred or anger (see Eph. 4:15). If a non-believer is offended, let it be because of the gospel—not because of our demeanor.
Standing for the truth with a self-righteous spirit is counterproductive. For this reason, we must never raise our prophetic voice out of a sense of being better than others. We can only speak the truth when we are fully aware that we were once its enemies. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).The greatest threat to our families, our churches and our culture comes from within ourselves. Pride is our subtle but most deadly enemy—the greatest enemy in the war on truth—and none of us is safe from its grip. That is why we must pray, "Lord, deliver me from evil—especially from my own pride and self-righteousness."
If I have learned anything from decades of ministry, it's that speaking the truth in love is one of the hardest—and most important—aspects of the Christian life. It requires real spiritual transformation and true awareness of the unending grace we have received from our Lord. Only growing intimacy with God and His Word can give us what we need.
God alone understands how to balance mercy and kindness with firmness and strength. He alone possesses the wisdom to know when we should speak and when we should listen. Only a closer walk with God can allow us to keep these things in balance. We need His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us, and this is why we must begin with prayer.
Prayer: Lord, You are my righteousness. Help me love others as You have loved me by the power of the Holy Spirit, remembering how I once was lost in darkness. Thank You for Your light, Your truth. Help me to spread it in a way that glorifies You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, with gentleness and fear" (1 Pet. 3:15).
Michael Youssef, Ph.D., is the founder and president of Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef, a worldwide ministry that leads the way for people living in spiritual darkness to discover the light of Christ through the creative use of media and on-the-ground ministry teams. Youssef was born in Egypt.
This article originally appeared at ltw.org.
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