I love stories.
I really really love stories.
Growing up my favourite thing to do in school was write compositions because I got to create all these wonderful tales with my imagination on overdrive. I’d often get so lost in my make-believe world I’d forget that it was technically supposed to be an exam.
I think of testimonies as stories of God’s goodness. Not just in the things we consider good but even in the hard stuff.
Needless to say, I love testimonies. I’ve always enjoyed them for the incredible stories that they are. But some years back I came across a sermon where the preacher was talking about testimony essentially being prophecy. It was an association I’d never heard of or considered before and it completely changed my spiritual approach to testimony.
There’s something about testimony that invokes the very presence of God. In declaring who He has been to us in the past and present, we are simultaneously decreeing who He can and will be in future because He doesn’t change. Therein, lies the prophecy – the declaration of the unchanging truth of God’s nature.
Like with everything spiritual, it’s not about the grandeur of the words that come out of our mouth as we give or receive testimony.
It’s about our heart posture – the heart with which we give and the heart with which we receive.
The Heart of Giving
“To withhold a testimony is to rob God of His glory.”
– Bill Johnson
Withholding a testimony goes beyond not telling it; it’s also in leaving ourselves out of the equation. There is a kind of pride that easily masquerades as humility which tells us to diminish ourselves into nothing so that “God can have all His glory”. It’s sounds great on the surface but there’s just one tiny problem – as vessels we are as much a testament of God’s glory as that thing that He is doing in and through us. It’s the equivalent of praising the Potter while claiming the pottery isn’t all that. How can the Potter be good if His work is naught? Isn’t His work the very essence, the very testament of His goodness?
As we tell of what the Lord has done, do we consider it more than a retelling of events? Do we release the prophecy as much with our spirit as we do with our lips? Do we believe for the multiplication of that word in the lives of those listening?
The Heart of Receiving
Comparison asks why [them] instead of [me]?
Conviction declares that if God can do it for [them] then He can do it for [me].
Here’s the thing.
All the people who have walked the earth from the beginning of time, who are walking the earth now and they that will be here in the future till the end of time…all these billions of people are incapable of denting the riches of heaven.
The limitations of man and the world don’t apply to the Maker of the heavens and the earth. There is more than enough for us all in the Kingdom of God.
Do we ever stop to think that when someone receives a blessing from God – it gives them capacity to bless us in unique ways that we need from them? So in fact, their blessing is tied to ours. And receiving theirs, we are halfway to receiving our own.
It’s possible to wholeheartedly cheer on the testimony of another yet fail to believe it for ourselves. Maybe you don’t need it but if you know someone who does, why not receive it on their behalf? As the giving is intentional so must be the reception.
The testimony belongs to one but the miracle is for anyone who needs it and is ready to receive it. When the witness between our spirit and the Spirit of God touches base with the witness of the spirit of those who listen and receive in faith, therein a divine transaction happens.
I love stories. But testimonies were meant to be more than just fancy Christian tales. They are a weapon of warfare in a world that constantly questions the goodness of God and His very existence. They are a candle of hope that lights up the way for those still in transit en route to their encounter with the Lord. They have the ability to carry the presence of God into any situation.
And the thing about His presence?
It changes everything.