You may be thinking, that’s an odd thing; to be ashamed of a testimony. Is it even possible to be ashamed of something great God has done in your life? It may have been sheer confusion or even intrigue that promoted your interest in this article. Either way, allow me to explain where it comes from.
I was privileged enough to have had the Gospel presented to me at a young age.
I was 13 years old in my church when a guest pastor mounted the stage and my life would change forever. He preached the Gospel in a way I had never heard before. He was eccentric, smart and eloquent. Sweating on that stage, he skilfully articulated something that had been obfuscated in the church thus far; the explicit Gospel. He preached about Gods wrath, Jesus the saviour and how we could obtain eternal life. After he asked us to respond and I responded, I believe I became a Christian that afternoon.
As I grew up in the church, I would hear many people give their testimonies, how they came to know Jesus and believe in him and after celebrating with them, I would often take a look at my life and in compassion, my story just did not sound interesting enough. My story sounded mundane and ordinary whilst others were som colourful and vivid.
I remember one particular Sunday service where a friend of mine held the youth churches attention as he told his story of salvation. Jaws dropped, they hung on his every word as he explained how he was stabbed by a gang and fell to the ground, right before he passed out he asked God to save him and that if God did, he promised to follow Jesus for the rest of his days. The youth church drew a collective gasp and started to clap. I clapped too but in my young mind, I also thought. ‘that’s so cool’, why didn’t I have a story like this to tell, why was my testimony so vanilla and ‘ordinary’.
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It’s hard to articulate what I felt, but for years I would pass on the opportunity to tell my story, I would change the subject or defer to people who had more interesting stories to tell about how they met Jesus. Growing up and maturing in the Word has helped me address this earlier gnawing concern of mine
We are not really aware of our depravity.
One of the major reasons we seem to be shy about our testimonies is because many people aren’t taught about the nature of their depravity, what they saved from and the gravity of their sin. Despite what your life before salvation looks like to the carnal eye, no matter how grotesque or good it may appear to you, the truth is that the carnal eye cannot weigh up things in this way. In Ephesians 2:1, the bible says you ‘were dead in your trespasses and sins’. This was our default state before we knew Christ. We were dead. There are no degrees of spiritual death, dead is dead. It is only carnal eyes that rank sins in this way, the biblical reality is the same across all people and is very serious.
Consider this, the God of the universe who controls all things, the wind changes directions at his behest, the seasons follow his leading and the sun is only a spec of his brightness. This God that controls all things, called you and you said no. This is the gravity of our transgression. A day spent in rebellion against this great God is a day too much. That he did not wipe the earth of us is a miracle; instead, he waited for us and in his time he saved us. It really is as Michale.
Maybe you were the pastor’s kid or a pretty smart kid or you got saved young. You probably don’t think you were that bad. You maybe stole a sweet here or there but you never murdered someone. Maybe you think a white lie here and there can’t be that bad compared to a murderer. Rather than focusing on what you can remember you did, considered who you sinned against.
Consider your sin against an almighty and righteous God, consider the depth of the sin. I grew up trapped in my web of lies, dripping in jealousy and revelling in sexual immorality. Every time I tried to be good, it would last for weeks and I would fall back harder than I did before. I would dig an increasingly deeper hole for myself, trapped between peoples image of me and who I really was. When the gospel was presented to me, it was a miracle. It was a breath of fresh air after being underwater for so long. How could God bring good out of my life when there was so much bad? How could be fashion something beautiful out of something so broken? Well, that’s God. That’s the miracle of his work, bringing beauty from the ashes.
When we understand the depth of our depravity, then we can start to really appreciate just what God saved us from. We appreciate Jesus so much more because we realise just where our lives were going without him. The only thing we contribute to our salvation is the sin that makes it necessary
What is the greatest miracle?
There is much debate in theological circles about the most amazing miracle Jesus performed. Some say it’s the feeding of the five thousand with barley loaves. The sheer spectacle of it must have been much to behold. Others hold to Jesus turning water to wine, in a time where natural fermentation took forever, this miracle would have made some mouths drop to the ground. That wine could be created so instantaneously.
Today many marvels at healing services and legs growing on social media but of course, consider an even greater miracle. There’s a famous gospel song that poses a set of interesting questions. How can a brown cow, eat green grass and produce white milk? Don’t worry, you don’t have to answer. Consider God’s chemical laboratory of redemption that takes our black hearts, stained with sin, dips it in red blood, the blood of Jesus and we come out white as snow. This is what Jesus achieved on a cross, a miracle that would melt our brains if we tried to understand it. He took something dead and gave it new life. He closed a void that nothing else could close. He bridged the gap. Whether you were stabbed or not, this is what it means to be snatched from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. It’s the same thing for all of us. We all sin and fall short and all of us are inputted with Christ’s righteousness, Romans 3:23