Cultivating a Living Testimony

Living Testimony

Living Testimony, we hear that all the time. At one point I wondered about the significance of those two words. They seem just two words that define themselves. You are alive and a testimony is a sworn statement. You have all you need for a living testimony. For a Christian is is much more than that because it is our proof of God’s change. It is how we show the world that our God is real, awesome and loves us no matter the circumstance. It is a two worded phrase that has a personal meaning and a public one. Let’s talk about the personal first.

Living

Ephesians 2:1-6 tells us how we have been dead in our sins and made alive in Christ. This is intensely personal because without Jesus we would be dead to our Father. Sure, we have seen someone say “You’re dead to me” in a movie and even cruel people have said it in life but to be permanently separated from your Father? It’s terrifying. It’s something we all live with until we have conviction to change. It doesn’t matter if you grew up in church, are a good person but not religious or even a murderer, when you become convicted there is a movement in you. The Holy Spirit can change the heart of men in an instant but, you have to want it. God provides our salvation, Jesus opened the way with his death and the Holy Spirit guides you to the Father when you are ready to live. Your salvation is secure in Christ once you do believe. But to be living…that is the change that drives you to chase God every day. His warmth, his love, his gloriously blinding face. Living things need light, Jesus is the light of the world but you still have to go to him for that life. Ultimately the term living for a Christian is their life in Christ and not the scientific definition we use to describe something that is living or not. (Romans 6:23)

Testimony

[su_pullquote align=”right”]…your testimony does not stop at your salvation but is the beginning…[/su_pullquote]

Testimony is your witness of God’s movement in your life. I know I fail at being a witness sometimes, it’s okay because I am not perfect, but I should do better. We should ask ourselves if our testimony is the public or outward reflection we want people to think when they think of a Christian. Testimony is not just about how you came back to God but should include your daily work. Our seasons may be joyous or they may be downtrodden but if our testimony is putting everything through Jesus then what have we to fear? Nothing. As Christians we should be helping those less fortunate so that we are a witness for Christ. Helping that homeless man get food is sharing your testimony and a chance to share more. Spending your evening with your significant other doing devotionals together is a great example of how you mutually share your testimony. If Paul can share his testimony in front of a king while facing potential death then we can surely share ours by giving someone a sandwich.

Living Testimony

I won’t ever claim that I am a better person, Christian or otherwise, than anyone else so this is my personal definition of living testimony. Your living testimony is the personal knowledge that Jesus Christ is the son of God who was slain so that we may be brought out of the death (eternal separation from God) that sin guarantees us. It is the public desire that we share our life changing story with others not only in our conviction to change, our return to God-first living but in our daily interactions with every child of God be they Christian or not. If a true change has come over you then it doesn’t matter so much in how you got to where you are but in how God is putting you on to a path to touching people and being a disciple of his grace and unyielding love.

Cultivating a Living Testimony

Defining what we believe is a living testimony is (as G.I. Joe said) only half the battle. How can we cultivate this testimony to be something we do every day? The easiest and also hardest idea when you make this commitment to share your testimony daily is mindfulness. It is so easy to forget and wander. Joseph and Daniel both were dream interpreters but they were also mindful In many instances where they were giving testimony before foreign kings by interpreting dreams (Daniel 2:19-28) and ensuring God was given the glory and not themselves.

I don’t know about you but I want that. I want God to have everything because once we give it all and are no longer encumbered by our own doubts and fears we open ourselves up to be the vessel he intended us to be. I use to and sometimes still do want to control every moving part of a situation and it just isn’t possible. Every day you cultivate a living testimony and there are so many ways you can do that.

I think that if we remember that your testimony doesn’t stop at your salvation but is the beginning and that to grow that testimony we need to chase God and have hunger for his word. Pray constantly and nurture others. Obey God’s truth and be mindful. If we remember those things then we know that we are giving God a great living testimony and that when our light fades and we are taken home then we have assurance that he will tell us that we have made him proud. We have pleased our Father.

My Salvation Is Secondary

Salvation is secondary

Man, that’s deep already.

I’m not going to apologize if that headline offends you. It should. It should also get your attention to the very serious nature of what I want to talk about. It’s been on my heart like an 800-pound Gorilla named Sparky. While talking with a friend we discussed a man’s primary duty as the leader of his home. After we talked I just had this consistent push in my mind telling me that my salvation was secondary but why?

Be the Shepherd

We are charged with leading our homes all over the bible and we struggle with that because we are human. The reason why I say our (as men) salvation is secondary is because we should be concerned with those in our household and where they are in Christ. It is said in Proverbs 22:6 that the way we raise children will determine their behavior in life. This is common sense stuff and does not have to be non-secular. In fact the NYU School of Medicine has a great site about child psychology and years of research behind it. You are the shepherd of the flock that God blesses you with on earth. Shepherds do not let their flock wander from them.

Bear Fruit

I talked about the farmer when I talked about nourishment and it’s consistency but I guess I did not get it across clearly enough because God has put it on my heart to write about it once again. In Deuteronomy 28:1-6 we are promised many a great blessings if we honor God’s commandments but in the same chapter (Deuteronomy 28:47-48) we are warned what happens if we fail. The work you do or the lack thereof is directly proportionate to how much God will bless you. He rewards the believer with salvation. He rewards those who understand they were chosen (John15:16) to bear witness for him

It’s Christ Like

Consider this simple thought that we all know to be truth. God is our father and he gave use Jesus so that we may be redeemed through his death and resurrection. Apply it to what is on my heart friends, God, with no requirement to, gave us his most precious thing. His Son. We are charged too with his most precious of things, his children (our children). Jesus gave his life for our salvation. Why can we not, set our desire to be fed aside and put our work in to how our children are raised? Our futures are secure, theirs are not. We, once saved, make a commitment to become like Him (Ephesians 4:23-24). I want to clarify something when I say put our desire to be fed aside in that we make sacrifices to ensure they are fed first. As grown adults we have the ability to self-feed by chasing God. If our eyes, our goals and our hearts are on him then the rest follows through like water in a channel. Pour ourselves in to Godly work and we are fed naturally. Our children do not have that knowledge or ability yet and even as they grow and become adults we still steward them as much as we can.

If we want to be like Him (1 John 2:5-6) then we should put our salvation to the side when we are secure in it. Not only to help our children but to help others as well. Whether you are making that choice for your children, a homeless man on the street or a lost sibling when we understand that true strength comes from our humility and willingness to sensibly sacrifice things and comforts for the encouragement and service to others we will grow. They will grow. Our salvation is secondary in this world when we take on the cross and bear it for others. God will put that salvation first in the end of our days and we will be greatly rewarded.

Owning Your Past to Move Forward

Own Your Past

Never fear your past.

One of the things that I took in to consideration before I jumped wholly in to this journey that God put before me was that I needed to decide if I wanted to erase who I used to be over social media or to leave it. I chose to leave it and for good reason.

To erase my past, who I presented myself as, and who I was would be a disservice to God. 

The bible tells us that in Christ we are created new [2 Corinthians 5:17] but we were moulded from that old clay and then we were plunged in the redemptive fire of Christ and cleansed. We should not fear recrimination from our fellow Christians because they, like us, were not worthy of God’s love and His Grace. The best part is that it’s free for us! It was not free for God because He gave His son, the right hand, His most precious thing because Christ said we were worth it.

If you looked at my Facebook 3 years ago and now you would see two very different people. That is how God moves and while it is a part of me it is not all of me. Jesus tells us specifically that we cannot long for the past and be fit for God’s kingdom [Luke 9:62]. To erase my past would be to not acknowledge that God grabbed my by the seat of my pants and put me where he wanted me which is doing this. Even with all of the cussing and lewd imagery I won’t erase it because if I am good enough for Jesus I should be good enough for you.

As men we face a lot of pressure to perform our duties and that can cause us to doubt ourselves and to doubt the work that God gives us. A lot of that comes from our past and the failures we endure before finding Him. We look back and see the transgressions we committed and then our resolve founders.

 

father praying

I am not insusceptible to that, in fact it happens daily but how I deal with it has changed. One of the constant things on my mind is am I doing right by Bethany and our kids. I pray over this daily, constantly asking that I be guided on the right path and constantly begging for the knowledge to give the kids so that they chase Him and not run like I did.

You have to own your past to move forward. Embrace it and accept it as being part of what you are. God put you through those trials so that where you are right now is where you are supposed to be. He doesn’t make mistakes and to hide from your past is to perform a disservice to God. Use it as your testimony and let others see Him within you. God has forgiven you and his forgiveness is to forget your sin [Isaiah 43:25] and move on to greater Godly work. If you doubt, pray. He is always listening.

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