2-15-5 A Positive Spirit
Our task of witness may likewise seem hopeless. We need the same positive spirit of heroism in our witness which Jeremiah and Ezekiel had, as they reflected the indomitable Spirit of God in this matter of human salvation. Our unbelieving families, our workmates, our neighbours, seem to be stony ground to the point that it just isn’t worth bothering. But we need a positive spirit. People are interested. It seems to me that world-wide, in every country I visit, there are more people interested today than there were ten years ago. There is interest in our message! And moreover, I never cease to be amazed that those I think would never be interested are in fact interested, deep below the irreligious surface. It’s so easy to have a negative spirit. Are people sincere? Do they just get baptized in the hope of material help? Can we cope with so many converts? Won’t many of them leave? What does this person really believe about doctrine? Can you believe them? Isn’t this or that the thin end of the wedge? This isn’t the spirit of the Lord’s parable about the drag net fishermen (note, not fishing with a line for a special, prize catch- but concentrating on saving as many as possible, of whatever quality, Mt. 13:47). But there are other questions, more personal. Can we afford it? Can I, should I, allow my worldly advantages to slip just so I can do this or that for the Lord’s cause? Can I afford to write so many letters? Do I have time to go to that Bible study? What about giving more time to revising for my exams rather than doing the readings? Our knowledge of the positive spirit of Christ means that we don’t think like that. One of the many slanderous allegations against Paul was that he was indecisive and negative spirited. His response was that this was not so, for the gospel and Lord whom he preached were so essentially positive, that he too had had become likewise through his experience of them: “…our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us…was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Cor 1:18-20). And in that knowledge, let us unashamedly show forth a positive spirit about how God sees us ourselves, about our brethren, and in our witness to the world.