Shawn Joseph Testimony: Be the First to Offer Help

When people look at me they see that I am approachable and the first one to offer my support and help. I attribute this to my parent’s regular bible study and reading to me and my sister when we were kids. Since then the verses that have been ingrained in my mind  are Mathew 25 v40 onwards:

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
41“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

I have debated what to share in my testimony having spent some of my growing years in other countries.

I was blessed to be born in a Christian church-going family and I was first christened and baptised as a baby.  I grew up as a Christian and going to church was a routine and listening to our parents read the bible to us every day was a must. I believe this did lay a foundation that I was able to relate to in my time of weakness. In the society where I grew up, there was a certain amount of persecution and injustice towards Christians, however, I believed that Jesus was the Lord of my life.

I also acknowledged that my grandfather had gone through this type of persecution more when he was leading a Church of England mission institute in that country. However, it always made me feel that  they had more respect as his sister was a doctor who was helping the local people in the adjoining mission hospital. I felt that I was going through a lot more then what my parents and family had to face. I felt and at times still, feel that there is injustice in the fallen world and why did I have to suffer and not be treated the same as my peers. At that time I didn’t know that God had my whole life planned for me and the so-called inequality I was facing for being a Christian was making me more grounded in my faith in Jesus.

Then I moved to England and the Americas for studies, at that time my belief in science and my own potentials was more stronger and my Christian faith was becoming weaker. I felt that Christianity was all about senseless rules and that it is not meant for me. I started to believe more in science.

One of my main objection about Christian faith was how can God and Jesus make his own people suffer through the persecution, suffer injustice and maltreatment by other faith people. This made me question Christianity. I started to rely on science and that use of my own brainpower was more productive than faith in God.

My work and training options took me to West Yorkshire, where at work I was doctrine by fellow doctors to follow their religion and they made extra efforts to convince me how I need to change. I wanted to be a part of their circle and liked how they looked after each other. At that stage of my life, I was willing to explore and their objections towards Christian faith seemed plausible. I was looking for Supreme being who will be just and would be fair to His followers. However, I lacked the understanding that I have now to let Jesus as “my Lord of my life”. Knowing how our God and Lord Jesus is not only Justified but most Sacrificial. How God has justified my sins through the sacrifice of his Son. However, the church was still a part of me.

My father came to know about doubts and he started praying for me. At that moment Jesus helped me when I started going to a hospital chapel again and praying with the hospital pastor. He asked me to wait for great plans of God in my life, he encouraged me to go back to my roots, and to pray. He encouraged to meditate on Jesus and the countless blessing He has given me and not to focus on the persecution but the blessings.

I joined the church again and continued with my faith. On moving to Leicester, I was a regular church-goer and through the church family and the small group support and with the power of the Holy Spirit had a baptism as an adult. I opened to God, and I realise that my sins are washed and I was a new man, after the submersion.

By the Grace of God, I continued with my church. Meeting other people and the fellowship took me back to where I belong, in a church family. Through bible study, once again I was able to realise that God is loving. I was able to talk with Him and I learn to value the things that God has taught me and to help my brothers and sisters in Christ. To be an example at work of how Christians should be.

I was able to understand that Jesus loves everyone and In fact, he is in everyone and is everywhere. Jesus showed me that I have a purpose, a calling and hope. I look forward to becoming one with Jesus. God is protecting me everywhere is I go. There is nothing that I have done or achieved that can take you away from him or I can boast on. His plans for me are a thousand times better than my own and that I should just trust him.

Through my experience, I appreciate the value of the church family and the role they play in our faith.

Through my walk in Christ and in the times when I abandoned him, I have realised the following. I was failing as a Christian however reviewing my failures made me stronger in Christ. I now encourage my brothers and sisters who are going through persecution, don’t conform and think for themselves. Successful believers in Christ don’t try to follow what is popular belief.

Read the bible avidly. What my parents did help me and this is what I want to do with my family to read the bible as a family unit. Make sacrifices for Jesus. Take your time with Jesus, listen to Him. I believe that the Holy Spirit talks to us through other people, through sermons in the church, through reading the Bible. I also believe in mild procrastination in growing of Christian faith, There are actually two different types of procrastination, one is called passive procrastination. That we might recognise it as a lazy stalling that can delay any project for days on end. The other is called active or strategic procrastination, and it is actually used to increase discernment, performance and thoughtfulness.

For many believers, doing things early is just as dangerous as being late. By jumping the gun they leave too much room for self-doubt and apprehension to misunderstand the Holy sprite. Taking an analogy of a project that needs completing. Instead of getting the head start, a believer should prioritise the urgent project while procrastinating on the important ones. Leaving exactly the right time they need to get it right the first time. Self-improvement: we are not perfect; we have plenty of weakness and there is not a point of being a best all the time.

Realise that there will be the failures on the way to the top, We might sin in words, thoughts or deeds however repenting and asking for God’s forgiveness is the key. Prophets and great Judges fell into sin because of the fallen world however Out God forgives if we acknowledge our sins and repent. Never self loath but to trust God. To me the church family is a lot of support, I have established a lasting relationship with them.

Most importantly Talk with God. Daily prayer, even in the middle of work or on your tea break. It reminds me that I am in the presence of Christ and He is everywhere.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us.