Saturday, January 3, 2015

"I Wish I Had A Testimony!"

Revelation 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony...”

Let me be clear about this...I believe that every person must be born again. No matter what walk of life you come from, no matter what religion you follow, no matter how hard you try to be a good person; you must be born again. Even if you were born into a Christian house and to godly parents – you were still born into a sin nature that will drag you to Hell. The only answer to the life we're all born into is to confess Jesus as Lord and be born into His new life. So whatever I'm about to say in the next paragraphs, don't think that I'm diminishing the importance of a genuine encounter with Jesus.
I was one of those kids who was raised in a believing home. I learned at an early age, along with my brothers and sisters, to love God and follow His leading. And while there have been many (many, many, many....) times that I fell into sin and did the wrong things, I always knew Who to turn to in repentance.
There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus is Lord. He is my Savior Who gave His life to set me free. He died to pay my debt of sin and then He rose again, breaking the power that sin had over me. According to Romans 10:9-10, this confession of faith is what ushers people into this new life in Christ. So, regardless of what you're about to read, you'll never be able to convince me that I'm not born again because my experience is different than yours. As you read this, I hope you'll see that, while the process of salvation must be the same, the experiences of salvation will be as different as one person is from another.
Why do I say this? Because there's always been something bothering me, like a cloud over my head. You see, there have been many times I've declared Jesus as Lord of my've just read one of them. Many times I've considered how amazing it is that Jesus gave His life for me and then rose from the dead by the power of God. But if you were to ask me, I couldn't tell you when I did this for the first time.
Like so many kids who were raised in church, I listened to many different speakers telling their amazing testimonies of salvation. I was fascinated by the incredible stories of dramatic and miraculous rescues from lives of sin. Inevitably, one of them would say something like, “I wonder about people who can't tell me when they gave their life to Jesus.” Later on, after hearing something like that, I would wonder why I didn't have a “spiritual birthday” like those speakers. Sometimes I would say a prayer and confess Him as Lord...just to be safe. But I wouldn't really consider that a testimony, right?
Are there any other “church kids” who can relate to this? How many people are there who have a genuine relationship with Jesus – a relationship that formed while they were still very young – and couldn't tell you exactly when this relationship started? If we overcome our enemy by the “word of our testimony” - shouldn't we have a testimony to tell?
This really bothered me up until a few weeks ago. But then God ever so sweetly revealed something to me. And it all started with a verse that we all know – Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” This verse has been well known to American Christians. It's been used often for inspiration during rough days– as if it meant “today is the day that the LORD has made”. But a closer look at this verse shows us that it means so much more that what we've been using it for. Let's look at this verse in context and find out what it's really saying:
Psalm 118: 22-24 “
The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes, this is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
There you see it. The day we rejoice in is the day that the stone was rejected. According to Acts 4:10-11, that day was the day that the Jewish leaders rejected Jesus and had Him crucified. We don't rejoice in just any day – we don't even rejoice in the day we first confessed Him as Lord! We rejoice in the day He gave His life to save ours!
You and I don't have different “spiritual birthdays”. We rejoice in the same day, the day Jesus saved us! According to 2 Corinthians 6:2, we are living in the “day of salvation” that began when Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. When we confessed Jesus as our Lord and believed that He rose from the dead, we entered (or were born) into our common salvation. And we all have this one testimony, “Jesus saved me from my life of sin and my future in Hell!”
This salvation experience can happen in a dramatic, night-to-day event – like Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus. Or it could take place at an incredibly young age and unfold throughout a lifetime – like it did in Paul's disciple, Timothy. Timothy had a testimony like many “church kids” have today. His faith was instilled in him by previous generations. His grandmother and his mother together raised him to serve God, and He never left it while growing up. Scripturally speaking, Timothy still must have been born again. But there was no mention of his conversion anywhere in scripture. It's possible that Timothy may not have even remembered life before his salvation, or the moment when he received Jesus as Lord!
In spite of the differences between Paul and Timothy's salvation experiences, they had the same testimony...Jesus saved them both on the day He died for their sins! This is the same testimony you and I have too. This is the testimony that overcomes every enemy. This is the testimony of our salvation. It's the testimony of the day that we were saved...the day that Jesus rescued us from the cross! Let's stop comparing the story of our entrance into this salvation with other peoples'! If you have confessed Jesus as Lord and have entered into this new life with me – then let's celebrate the day we were all born again!

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