I watched a lot of the confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Whatever a person might believe about the politics, it isn’t difficult to believe in the person. I often say that “the loudest sermon a person will ever preach is heard through his or her life.”
Last week during the confirmation hearings, the world witnessed the presence and power of Christ in a person’s life.
What I found most interesting was the fact that many people were concerned about her convictions rather than impressed by them. Amy Coney Barrett is unashamedly Christian, and people continuously said they found her convictions troubling.
If I were Judge Barrett, I would have been reminded often of Jesus’ words to his disciples: “‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (John 15:20).
You can be confident
The entire world knew that Judge Barrett would field a lot of questions because of her faith. No one was surprised when she was hammered with questions about abortion, same-sex marriage, and other hot-button issues.
I wonder when being a person of great faith became something people considered a weakness in our culture.
If you are like me, you tend to focus on the part of John 15:20 when Jesus said, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” Christians know that some persecution for our faith is to be expected. We like a little bit of trouble because it reassures us that we are walking in the example of Christ.
But, the statement that follows is equally important to our faith.
In fact, persecution might not have been the most significant point Jesus was making. Jesus told his disciples, “If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” That statement shouts and illustrates God’s plan for our lives.
We expect to be persecuted for our Christian witness because Jesus promised persecution. We have heard a lot of sermons about how to handle persecution in ways that honor Christ. But, do we also expect people to be saved and to keep God’s laws because of our witness?
Jesus said, “If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.”
Are we as confident in Jesus’ promise of a successful witness as we are of our promised persecution?
I hope Judge Barrett hears from a lot of people who tell her they were strengthened in their faith because they watched her faith at work during the hearings.
Our friendship with Christ
Sometimes we forget that Jesus called his disciples “friends.” Jesus told them, “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14). Judge Barrett has been in church her entire life and was raised in the faith. Jesus has been her friend for a long time.
I think Jesus sat at the table with his friend during her days of questioning. She just functioned with a strength that was more than her own. Judge Barrett drew comfort from the presence of her family behind her, but I think she drew strength from her friendship with Christ.
Are you more comfortable thinking of yourselves as a servant rather than a “friend” of Christ?
Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Jesus told his disciples: when you know what I would do and do it, you have befriended me.
I had a new thought with this familiar passage. Servants serve because it is their job and they are required to work at whatever the master might request. Consider the phone call from the boss who asks you to get something done for him. Now, compare those words to the phone call from a friend who says, “I need your help.”
Jesus has befriended us.
We are to serve Christ with the same attitude we would serve our best friends.
When is a perfect friendship with Christ possible?
I don’t imagine very many of us would be able to match the intellectual abilities of Judge Barrett. She is unequivocally brilliant.
On the other hand, any of us who have received the Holy Spirit of Christ have been filled with the exact same nature we saw displayed during those long days of questioning.
I wanted to write about that because I believe one of the greatest problems we have in the church today is that God’s people limit what the Lord can do in and through their lives.
You might not be able to match the judge’s intellect, but you do have the ability to be an excellent friend of Christ. Anything the Holy Spirit accomplishes through your life is perfection. The Holy Spirit isn’t able to be less than perfect—ever.
Have you limited your life to what you are capable of or do you accomplish what Jesus is able to do through you?
Does the dogma live loudly in you?
Senator Dianne Feinstein was quoted often this week. She was part of the Senate confirmation hearing when Judge Barrett was nominated for a position on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. At the hearing, Sen. Feinstein said, “I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you.”
Dogma is defined as “a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.” Judge Amy Coney Barrett believes that God’s word has authority in her life and that bothers a lot of people. Interestingly, all of the persecution she will endure for her beliefs will also lead people to consider the existence and authority of God.
I want that “dogma” to live loudly in me as well.
I carefully watched Senator Feinstein question Judge Barrett. They are very different women in their beliefs, but I can honestly say that I saw mutual respect. It will be interesting to see if Senator Feinstein votes her heart or her politics. I hopefully expect the first possibility from her.
“Integrity, dignity, and sound speech”
The apostle Paul told Titus, “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (Titus 2:7–8). Paul called Titus, a Gentile convert of Christ, his “true child in a common faith” (Titus 1:4).
How many people will discover faith in Christ because the “dogma” lives loudly in the life of Amy Coney Barrett?
How many will enter heaven because we allow the word of God to dwell abundantly and “loudly” in our lives?
Those words aren’t slanderous when they are true. The dogma lives loudly in a person who chooses friendship with Christ.
Embrace the friendship.
If we keep God’s word, if the dogma lives loudly in us, others will follow that word too.
P.S. Have you signed up for my bible study, Foundations of Faith, yet? It’s not too late, we just released lesson 6!
Visit https://www.janetdenisonbiblestudy.com/ to sign up for this study, if you’ve already signed up you can login and access the newest video too.