"Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: 'Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.'" Rev 12:10-11
Last week at the house church I attend on Friday nights the subject of testimony came up. We talked a little about how among some Christian circles everybody gets excited about a "great testimony" where someone has been delivered from some wild past and that person gets put up on a pedestal while the kids who had grown up in church and never strayed too far outside the fold are made to feel like God hadn't been doing much in their lives and maybe didn't plan to. Funny, I think it's a pretty good testimony to have been captured by the love of God and kept safely in His care in a world that is so full of potential pitfalls! Really, is testimony about us, or is it about an amazing, redeeming God who works in a variety of ways to seek and to save the lost?
Well, here's my testimony (condensed version): I am a sinner. When I was 12 Jesus broke through to my heart with the realization that everything I had learned about him through my church and family growing up was really true: despite the fact that I am a sinner He loves me so much that He would die a horrendous death on my behalf so He could have me with Him forever. I was overwhelmed to think that the Creator of the universe had such great love for me at a point in my life where I was feeling rejected by many around me. I placed my faith in Him, believing that He died on a cross and rose from the grave three days later. On the basis of His sacrifice, all of my sins past, present, and future have been forgiven and He has reserved a place for me in His eternal kingdom. From that time on He took hold of my life (though really I think He had a hold of it all along). Sometimes I cooperated well, sometimes not. But even when I resisted, He always persisted! He has tenderly guided me as a loving Shepherd and has promised to never let me go. Because of His great love for me and His Holy Spirit at work in me I have the capacity to love Him in return by seeking to live my life for the sake of His glory, following His example. I continually fall short, but His grace is always sustaining me and encouraging me to press on. His love makes me long to hear Him say, "well done good and faithful servant."
I'm sharing my testimony in part because I need to overcome the adversary, the accuser of the brothers, because I do fall short. I struggle with temptation and sin. I struggle with idolatry - looking to insufficient substitutes to fill me up when I am feeling empty, alone, and insecure. But I will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony, proclaiming all that He has done and continues to do in my life and His unending faithfulness.
I share it also because I think it helps all of us to think on these things. I know when I talk to my Khmer teachers who are at varying stages of the development of their faith in Jesus Christ I am so encouraged because I see God at work in their lives and I know He is continuing to draw Cambodians to Himself.
Speaking of which, here's another exciting testimony recently reported in the Children in Families newsletter.
Click here to read it!