“And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”
Building a testimony for Christ is accomplished over time, but having a reputation can be brought about through one decision. However, your testimony is constructed be one decision at a time, and every decision leaves you with a reputation that will determine whether people will want to believe you or follow you in what you are doing.
The believer should desire to have a good testimony. There are some names that are revered at the mention of their name. There are other names of people that, when someone mentions their name, an immediate red flag is raised because of their reputation. In Ezekiel 44:23-24, three words are given that will help you as a believer to build a good testimony over time.
The first word is “teach.” God says, “And they shall teach my people…” Teaching is critical to building a good testimony because you won’t know which decisions to make without someone teaching you. If you are going to be taught, you must learn to listen to those who will teach you. You cannot be taught if you don’t listen or if your mind is already made up. In order to be taught, you must have a willing spirit to learn. One of the greatest attitudes that any believer can have is the attitude that everyone has something to teach you; therefore, you will listen to everyone so that you can learn from them what God wants you to learn. You cannot make good decisions to build a great testimony if you are not willing to be taught.
The second word is “discern.” Discernment is the ability to see ahead. In other words, discernment allows you to see where a decision or an action will take you before it is decided or performed. One of the greatest lacks in Christianity is in the area of discernment. Discernment is not difficult to learn if you are willing to learn from history. History teaches you where decisions will take you. In order to have discernment, you must be willing to be honest with yourself about the situation, and look at that situation through the prism of history so that you can make the right decision. Let me warn you when you make discerning decisions; you will often be misunderstood because most people only look at the moment instead of looking at where the decision will place you in the future. Discernment doesn’t look at how a friend or decision will presently benefit you, but it looks at how they will impact you in the future. Having a discerning mind will set you apart from most people and will give you a good testimony that you make good decisions.
The third word is “judgment.” Verse 24 says, “And in controversy they shall stand in judgment…” Making judgments is not always easy, nor is it always popular, but you will never keep your testimony if you are not willing to make a judgment call. Making proper judgments will cause you to be unpopular, and it will cause people to attack you, but it will save your life in the future. I would much rather be unpopular because of a proper decision than to be popular and suffer heartache because of a lack of judgment. Discernment will give you clarity as to what is the proper judgment, but it won’t make the decision for you. You are going to have to be willing to make difficult decisions or judgments if you are going to let discernment guide your decisions. My friend, stop worrying about what people think about you and make the right judgment; your testimony is at stake.