A Living Testimony
Brian D. Dykstra
Psalm 119:63: “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.”
God created man as a social being. Each of us needs to experience that there is a place where we belong. Also, though God saves each individual who belongs to Him, we are not delivered in different individual ways but in the one way of the cross as those who belong to the body of Christ.
We are, however, social to different degrees. Some saints move comfortably only within a small circle of people. Then there are those who are similar to a dear friend of mine. He loves plenty of companionship and conversation. When he was faced with the reality of a 2200-mile solitary drive, he realized this would be a punishment for him. He began to call his friends to find one who would fly out to meet him, then ride/drive with him. I went. We soon settled into a routine for the expedition. When he drove, I would listen; when I drove, he would sleep. We, and the friendship, survived the trek.
In the church, this companionship is expressed as the communion of the saints. This is the fellowship of the living body of Christ. The communion of the saints, fellowship with other believers, is one of the purposes of our school. We desire our children to have godly companions.
We do not expect all of the students to have all of the other students as their best friends. There are differences of personalities and interests. Getting along and showing kindness are the best we can expect in some cases.
Still, we need to remember that we truly are companions for one another. A companion is one who goes along with another. We share in what another is doing. There is a fundamental agreement among us which we must express; not only in words but also in deeds. Each of us, according to the plan God has ordained, is walking the path of faith. God has the same final destination for all His saints. We must remember an important element of this path which we share with our companions. The path is marked by grace. None of us are on this path because of our own choosing or deserving. None of us deserves to be on this path which leads to such a beautiful end.
Psalm 119:63 tells us who our companions are. The word “all” is used. The condition of much of the church world today would lead many to stop the definition of our companions right there. The ecumenical movement once sought to have all those who walked under any banner of Christianity unite and join in brotherhood. Now, there are those who would have us believe our companions on the path to glory also include Muslims, Buddhists and anyone who bows to anything!
Our companions on this path have traits which allow us to recognize them. We are companions to those that “fear thee,” Jehovah. Fearing any god of one’s choosing will not do for a foundation of true godly companionship. We must be companions of all those who fear God. All on the path share the realization of what God has done for us. We fear to offend this merciful God who has so graciously delivered us from our sins.
Do we see someone who fears the Lord? Then we are a companion to them. We must not be willing to be companions only to the popular, sociable, physically attractive or talented. It is very well possible that there are fellow saints with whom it seems the only thing we have in common is the grace which delivers us from our sins.
Showing companionship is easier when we remember what we are: sinners saved by grace. There are not two paths to heaven, one of grace and one of works. We may not say, “Well, that brother is good enough to be saved by his works, but that other one? He is definitely saved only by grace. I do not share the same experience of salvation with him!” We are saved in the same gracious way, from the same deserved fate and to the same awaited glory.
When we live as companions to each other, we will give a powerful testimony to the world. Hope School’s Constitution (Article II, 4) mentions this under its purpose statement. “This school shall be a living testimony by word and deed in this community whereby all students and teachers demonstrate that the Kingdom of God comes first in their lives.” A little later we read, “We actively seek out and help those in need, as what we do for others is the same as doing it for God Himself.”
May God dwell in us by His Spirit so we and our children experience the encouragement we need as we walk as companions on the path which leads to glory in Jesus Christ.