What if No One Knew?
Glynnis Whitwer

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35 (NIV)

This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to chaperone my son's high school trip to Europe. Although my purpose in going was to invest in my son and be with him before time forever changes our life together, God had a few lessons tucked in surprising places for me.

One such place was Germany. In our short time there, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by painting a section of wall that will be ceremoniously knocked down in November. We were thrilled to help remember the freedom of so many.

In spite of all the freedom enjoyed in the last 20 years by Berliners, our tour guide told us that Germany school children are not allowed to wear or bring to school any "religious" symbols. For Christians, that means no jewelry, clothing or books that would reveal their faith.

Upon returning home, I tried to confirm his statement. Although I couldn't, it challenged me to think how I would share my faith if I couldn't tell anyone through words or symbols. My thoughts immediately turned to all the followers of Jesus throughout the ages who couldn't share their faith openly. Although we might believe we need political freedom to share our faith, history shows us we don't.

In many instances, Christianity thrives under persecution because God's freedom shines even brighter in comparison. Believers don't need symbols to share their faith, they do so with their lives. Imagine living or working in a place where you couldn't say the name of Jesus out loud? How would people know?

As I read the New Testament, I see pictures of Christians who lived in such a way that their lives drew people to them and reflected the loving God they served. Here are just a few of the ways early Christians shared their faith without words:

• Going where others would not go.
• Giving generously to those in need.
• Taking care of each other.
• Forgiving great wrongs done to them.
• Showing hospitality to strangers.

This is just a short list of the many ways Christians "witnessed" to others. The Bible is full of examples of how God-followers told the story of their faith without using symbols or words. World history tells the same story. And I know there are believers in the world today facing life-threatening persecution.

It's prompted me to really consider what "rights" I need in order to spread the Good News of our Savior. Do I really need a government that guarantees my religious freedom? I like that, and want that, but is it needed? Based on the stories of the heroes of our faith - yesterday and today - maybe what I really need is a life that tells about my God louder than any words.

Whether or not you live in a country that affords religious freedom, what are you doing to share your faith with others?

Dear Lord, today I pray for my brothers and sisters who are living under persecution for their faith today. Lord, be their peace, hope and freedom. Please help me to live a life that reflects who You really are. I long for others to know You and love You. Thank You for Your faithfulness to me in all things. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary by Susie Larson

The Character of God: Understanding His Heart for Us by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer

Visit Glynnis’ blog and resource page

Application Steps:
Take some time today to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering persecution today. If God prompts you to do more, please visit Voice of the Martyrs website for some options on how you can help.

How would others know you are a Christian if you couldn't say a word?

Are there areas of your life that need to change in order to live more like the believers in the New Testament?

Identify some of those areas.

Power Verses:
2 Timothy 3:12, "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted …" (NASB)

Psalm 34:19, "A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all …" (NIV)
Acts 4:34-35, "There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need." (NIV)

© 2009 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately in many public school districts in the United States students and teachers are NOT allowed to wear or say anything that reflects their christianity! This is not an issue solely pertaining to far away lands! I'm speaking from personal experience after working in a public school in California for 25 years. Let's wake up and vote to save our freedom.

Blogger Kelsie said...

Thank you for speaking/writing on the subject of persecution. Voice of the Martyrs has really opened my eyes...We have much to be thankful for, and we also need to be wise with the time that we have!

Anonymous Nicole said...

I hate to see it coming but I strongly believe that very soon we will not be able to practice, speak about, or display our beliefs publicly without open persecution. There are already so many of our beliefs we are not going to be able to speak about legally if certain laws are passed. such as gay marraiges and abortion. I f persecution makes Christians strong. We will be strong indeed!

Anonymous Jessica said...

This is a very good devotion. I do feel for those that cannot mention Jesus. I hate that our public schools in America are also stipulating students and teachers. I'm happy to work in a Christian school, and I'm glad that my son, who will be starting kindergarten this year, can worship God anytime he pleases. Let's pray that Christian schools aren't taken away from us, as they will probably be out-lawed sometime.

Anonymous C. said...

I do not believe that in American schools one can not wear a cross or any other type of religious symbol however, it is not surprising that some have misinterpreted the law to the extent that it is happening in various locations across our great nation.

Also, as I live in Germany, I asked a german fried about the ban of religious symbols in schools. According to her it is absolutely not true. Recently I was at a German High School and saw students wearing crosses and Stars of David.

Thank you for bringing the issue of persecution to the forefront. We have so much to thank God for and should not be silent about it!ful for and should no

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I try to print the devotions to share with my church ladies, but cannot do it. Is it possible to be set up to print.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankyou for your words on not being offended by what others say; Im a very sensitive person, I take everything to heart, and I m the one who most often left hurting. But what do you do if a family member continuiously lies and always tryies hurting you and your own family? How do I love them and forgive them without making a direct contact with them, is'ent there a time for silence and just prayer?

Blogger Glynnis Whitwer said...

I'm responding to the comment about printing the devotions. If you click on the title of the devotion, you get taken to our blog. Once there, right click your mouse and choose the print option. It will print out the entire devotion, including comment. Blessings - Glynnis

Blogger Glynnis Whitwer said...

I'm responding to the question about what to do when someone lies to you continuously, trying to hurt you. I believe you should distance yourself as much as possible. Loving somoene doesn't mean subjecting yourself to danger. Guard your heart and family from those who would willingly hurt you. May God bless you. Glynnis

Post a Comment


Site Search
Recent Devotions
Articles About...
Grab our button!