I hope you found Ronnie’s story encouraging. I want to expand on the concept of sharing our stories. First, let’s look at a familiar verse.
1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
I absolutely love listening to testimonies. It doesn’t matter if it’s the train-wreck story or for someone who has loved Jesus since childhood. All are precious in the sight of the Lord. Why? These stories aren’t about us. They are about Jesus. This gets back to the topic from last week. I spoke of how the performer Crowder often referred to himself as sinner. He did that not to draw attention to himself but to glorify Jesus.
Let’s face it, no matter our individual circumstances, none of us had the desire to walk away from a life of sin. True, some of us were so entangled in a particular sin (or sins) that we were physically, emotionally, and spiritually unable to break free. This is addiction that kills. That, however, is a manifestation of sin. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. All of us, except Jesus. True, some have a salvation story that happened at a moment of crisis while in the midst of somebody else’s sin. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t individual sin. By no means.
No matter the circumstances, the story is the same. We all share the song penned in 1779 by John Newton.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
You see, none of us may lay claim to our salvation story. This is a hard one to come to grips with because at some point we bowed to Jesus. But, as we discussed in great detail a while back, even that act was God’s doing.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
When we think about it, hard, we find this to be true. It has to be this way. Otherwise, we would need to re-write Newton’s song. And most of scripture. Yes, it’s true most denominations have done exactly that, but they do so to their shame. The plain facts are this, we are so mired in our sin, by choice, that we have no desire, on our own, to walk away from it. Yes, we may want to walk away from SOME of it, but not ALL of it. Yet, when God grants us repentance, we agree in our spirit to wholesale change (2 Timothy 2:24).
So, if we didn’t do it, then God did. And if God did, that means we are indebted to him. We see this plain fact in scripture.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Our testimony is not ours. It belongs to Jesus. It is meant to be told so that Jesus may be glorified. It’s not what we did; it’s what HE did. Sharing your story is terrifying at first. You may be embarrassed about it. Everyone feels that way – until you begin to enjoy the incredible reward you receive from sharing it. I’m not kidding about this, folks. Yes, Jesus holds the title to our soul, but not as Satan would like to think he did. We are in bondage, not as slave to sin, but to the freedom that comes from bondage with Jesus. Sin no longer holds its appeal. The joy of the Lord does. Plus, that joy only increases the more we pursue Jesus, as does all the fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Seek Jesus and you will enjoy all these things that money cannot buy.
Start small. Share your story with other Christians. Work out the feelings that keep your story hidden. God wipes away our tears and takes away our anxiety. He most definitely wants us to share our story. That’s why he gives us joy. You’ll simply need to trust me on that.
Father, encourage us to share our stories – YOUR stories. Let them burst forth from us with gusto! Amen!
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers