The Power of Testimony



Scripture:

Psalms 78:52-55
Then he led out his people like sheep,
and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid;
but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
And he brought them to his holy hill,
to the mountain that his right hand had won.
He drove out nations before them;
he apportioned them for a possession
and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.

Observation:

Over and over again the people of God are reminded of God’s faithfulness. They recount God’s provision when they were led out of Egypt. Like a shepherd God led them to safety. The analogy to the good shepherd here in the Psalms should not be lost on us, for not only is it recounting the past but it is foreshadowing a future in which the good shepherd will be revealed in the incarnation of Christ. 

The attributes of the good shepherd are seen in the guidance and loving care provided for God’s people. They are led in safety, kept from fear, taken to the holy hill, and finally settled. This testimony is given for those who will listen and hear what God has done in the past, and will continue to do into the future. 

Application:

Sunday morning I attended the 100th anniversary of a church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was pleased that part of that celebration included testimony. One dear lady recounted how God had brought her to the church. Her heart had been seeking peace, and there were times that she was quite troubled. She added that she had quite a temper. It was during a revival service that she heard about the power of the Holy Spirit to set her free from the things that tied her to the attitudes of this world. She prayed at the altar and turned everything over to God. It was in that moment that she found freedom — and that included freedom from her temper. God’s peace washed over her and changed her temperament and she never again struggled with her temper. She was now 91 and exuded such a sweet peace. 

Her testimony, however, continued. This wasn’t the only experience which was transformational in her life. In later years, after her husband died, she struggled with fear and anxiety. She was afraid to be alone, and every noise in the house seemed to set her on edge. Friends and family members would come and stay at the house to help alleviate her fears. For five years she slept with the light on, when one night the Lord began to speak to her. He reminded her of the temper that she used to have, and how he had brought peace to her life. He then seemed to say that if he could remove that temper, he could also take her fear. Praying in her house that night, she laid all of her fear and anxiety on the Lord. In an instant, she said, the fear dissipated and to this day has never returned. 

I rejoiced in hearing these words of testimony and then began to wonder how often we take the time to share the stories of God’s work in our lives. This was a regular feature of John Wesley’s Methodist societies. Sharing your testimony was a type of accountability before the people of God, that God was at work in your life. It’s not always a comfortable practice, and yet, those who have studied the ways in which the church grew in the past, they have discovered that testimony is vital. 

If we forget the stories of the past, we won’t know about God’s faithful engagement with humanity. If we get out of the habit of sharing what God is doing in our lives, we may forget to look for God’s activity in our lives. If our children and grandchildren don’t hear and learn from those who have gone before, how will they know what God has done, and how will they learn to become vulnerable, willing to grow in Christ? 

There is great power in testimony, both for our own lives, and for those who will come after us. In an era when we want to present a perfect persona, testimony breaks down the walls of human perfections and allows us to become vulnerable before the people of God. Only in this way will we be able to grow spiritually, and pass along the faith to subsequent generations. 

Prayer:


Lord, please help me to be willing to be vulnerable, and share with others what you are doing in my life. Amen. 

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