I was having a much needed catch up with a good friend last night. One of those great conversations where you are really real, and yet really encouraged in the realness. When you can be open about the mess, but yet remember that God loves you in your mess and doesn't leave you there. One of those conversations that fixes you upon Jesus and finishes with such tangible hope.
And as we talked through life and the journey and the not-understanding-it-all and the sometimes-this-feels-a-bit-hard stuff, I was reminded of the importance of our testimony.
Because there are times where I feel like one of satan's greatest weapons against us, is robbing us of our testimony.
Stealing it out of our mouths.
Not in reality, I mean it's only deception. He has no power to change the reality of forgiveness, or the truth of the situations that God has rescued us from, or the newness of the new-creation life Jesus brings… But still, there are times where we feel like we are kept silent. We don't speak out the testimony that God has given us as one of the great weapons to use in the battle to overcome. We live like we have duct tape over our mouths (spiritually).
Because the power of our stories is a promise of the Word.
That we will overcome.
By the blood of the Lamb and the word of testimony.
But yet, we can sometimes feel robbed of it. We feel undermined in speaking it out.
I think it can happen through loads of subtle tactics and thought patterns. It really can.
Sometimes it's the imaginary rewind button of previous sin. Things we have done, turned from and repented of, things that are forgiven and washed whiter than snow by Jesus… But yet, things that we seem to be watching back again in our internal world as if they still have a hold on us. Things that we have done or things that have been done to us.
The rewind button that makes us feel like we aren't forgiven when the resounding power of Jesus says that we are. We don't want to speak out our testimony, because somewhere inside, we still feel the weight of shame or the grime of guilt.
But that's not our God. In Him, there is freedom from the rewind. I mean, you can't rewind what He has already erased.
Sometimes it's because we're stuck in the repeat button of behaviour. Ever been there? Your testimony involves breakthrough. It involves a powerful story of Holy Spirit changing you from what you were and instead bearing the fruit of change and love and salvation in your life. You used to be depressed, but He brought joy. You used to be angry, but He brought peace. You used to be a liar, but He brought truth…. But then, after a season of weeks or months or years of breakthrough, you find yourself hit with the same old thing. Stuck in the repeat. You feel down again. You lost your temper. You can't explain it. And you are left wondering if there is any power in the words of your testimony. Because surely if it had been real, you wouldn't be back here?
The repeat button that makes us feel like we're abandoned when the resounding power of Jesus says that we are not. We don't want to speak out our testimony, because somewhere inside, we still feel the chains of our choices or the ropes of our failure.
But that's not our God. In Him, there is freedom from the repeat. Even if this is your third second chance. Or your fourth. Or your fifth. Because even when we fail, He sees our hearts and the way the we are trying and striving for His ways.
Sometimes it's because we're stuck in the record button of behaviour. You felt like God had forgiven you and you experienced living in that… But then other people kept reminding you of your failures and used your sin to define you. They didn't see who you were in God. And you now feel like you can't speak up about what God has done in you because you'll always be told what you were instead of what you are.
The record button that makes us feel like we'll never be anything other than a sinner when the resounding power of Jesus says that we are a saint and a redeemed child of God. We don't want to speak out our testimony, because somewhere inside, we are believing the words of others or the destiny someone else has put on us over the Word of God.
But that's not God. In Him, there is freedom from the record. And no matter what other people say to you, about you or remind you of, His voice is louder, stronger and greater.
And last night as I talked to my friend…. And in the day that has passed since, these things have been a great encouragement to my heart. (Man, I have never been so thankful for some seriously beautiful friends as in these last 6 weeks!)
Because no one is ruled out of this beautiful, incredible forgiveness. Nothing in our past. Nothing in our present. Nothing in our future. Nothing can separate us from this overwhelming, all-encompassing love of our mighty Saviour. It literally sparkles in it's total brilliance.
His grace is bigger than the rewind, the repeat and the record buttons that so often keep us silent.
He is bigger.
And so today, and tomorrow, and the day after, let's not stay silent. Let's speak the truth loudly in love. Because that may have been who I was, but it's not who I am. And that might have been my sin, but this is the fruit of the grace of God in my life. And He shouts loudly over me. And He sings a better future over me. And He cheers for me in the courts of heaven.
It's an incredible reality. It's stunning.
Because we will overcome. By the blood of the Lamb, and the Word of our testimony.
Nothing's going to take His praise out of my mouth.
Now that's a word of hope.