THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR TESTIMONY
The Lord has declared, "And they overcame him (the devil, verse 9) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death" ( Revelation 12:11).
This verse is central to the lives of Christians. The blood of the Lamb is what made our salvation possible, and brought us to the place where we even have a testimony. The word of our testimony is not just about how we were saved, as though God entered our lives for that moment and we've never seen or heard from Him since. We all are supposed to have an ongoing testimony of our involvement in the things of God, and His involvement in our lives. We should be ready to answer the question, "What has God done in your life in the last month?"
We are to share God's involvement in our lives with Christians and non-Christians, as we see that God has opened the door for us to share. The Holy Spirit takes this testimony, and does His wonderful work in their lives. Sometimes they will respond with a Hallelujah!, and sometimes they will get a frown on their faces and change the subject. When this happens, it isn't that you have failed God, or that your testimony was not effective. What probably happened in the case of the frown is that your testimony brought the person under the conviction of the Holy Spirit (for reasons we don't need to know), and because of this discomfort he wanted to change the subject. You have done your part, and now the Holy Spirit will do His part. Another reason for getting a frown is that sometimes Christians with a testimony to share don't pay attention to whether the Holy Spirit is preparing that other person's heart to receive what we have to say, and we sometimes forget to ask the Lord, "Is this the right time?"
What is the big picture? It goes like this: In the Garden of Eden, mankind sinned for the first time, and fell into a "depraved" state, so that all people are born with a carnal, sinful nature. This was a work of the devil, in the Garden. Because of this tragic event, "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (I John 5:19). Everywhere (literally, all over the earth), the devil has seduced people into personal sinful bondage, and into the development of sinful practices, such as abortion, pornography, divorce, wife-beating, white-collar crime, etc. The world lies in darkness, and Jesus has called us, His disciples, to be "the light of the world". Our light shines as we manifest the Lord living inside us, in the person of the Holy Spirit. One of the powerful ways our light shines is when we testify to the wonderful works of God. We do want people to know what a wonderful God we worship and serve.
So, what does God want to do about this horrible condition of the world, all this darkness, all these millions of evil works of the devil? As led by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John wrote these words, "The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil" (I John 3:8). Probably the primary work of the devil is that he "has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (II Corinthians 4:4). So, the lost have been blinded to prevent them from coming to Christ...so that they would perish in hell. This work of the devil must be destroyed, so that these perishing people can come to Christ.
Jesus told us, His disciples, in John 14:12, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father". Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to empower us, so that we can do His work of destroying the works of the devil. Therefore, as we share the truth of the Gospel with a perishing person, the Holy Spirit takes that word and powerfully uses it in the life of this person with whom we have shared. Then comes to pass the word of God in II Corinthians 4:6, "For God, who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ". Thus, as the Holy Spirit shines God's light into this person's heart, this particular work of darkness, done by the devil, has been destroyed, and the person is now free to trust in Christ.
Now, all the preceding is about rescuing the perishing people of the world. But there is more. The devil doesn't just work on them....he also has plans to weaken or destroy believers in the Church of Jesus Christ. He has planted all forms of strange practices and doctrine in the church. The worst one I know is the doctrine that we have to work at becoming as sinless as possible so that God will overlook our past sins and let us in Heaven. This is “works salvation”, and is from the pit of hell. The truth is that we are born with a sinful nature, and can never be good enough to earn or deserve to be admitted to Heaven. Only by receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior can we appropriate for ourselves the forgiveness of sins that He purchased through His death on the cross. He died in our place, since we deserved that death, because of our sins.
In addition to this, the devil wants to get as many church groups (denominations) as possible to create a doctrine where their faith is a faith of the intellect, which usually involves an avoidance of feelings in the heart regarding our wonderful Lord and Savior. Some even say that God has no feelings. However, He has given us a "great commandment" in Matthew 22:37, to call forth our feelings as we love Him with all of our heart, soul and mind. This "faith of the intellect" doctrine also wants to avoid the wonderful supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. As we testify to the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, He breaks through intellectual walls created by this doctrine, and brings life lived in the Holy Spirit, an exciting joyfilled life, which blesses others and glorifies the Lord.
This section from Bill Johnson's book, "When Heaven Invades Earth" is very helpful. He begins by quoting from God's Word:
"The sons of Ephraim were archers equipped with bows, yet they turned back in the day of battle, they did not keep the covenant of God, and refused to walk in His law; and they forgot His deeds, and His miracles that He had shown them."
Then, Bill writes: "A very profound part of the Jewish culture was shaped by the command to keep the testimonies of the Lord. The family itself was driven by the ongoing revelation of God contained in His commandments and testimonies. They were to talk about the Law of God and what God had done when they went to bed at night, rose up in the morning, walked along, etc. Just about any time of the day was a perfect time to talk about God's wondrous works.
"To insure they didn't forget, they were to build monuments that would help them to remember the invasion of God into their lives. For example: they piled stones to mark the place where Israel crossed the Jordan River (Joshua 3:1-4:9). That was so that when their young ones would ask, 'Hey, Dad, why is that pile of stones there?', they could respond with the story of how God worked among them.
"The testimony of God creates an appetite for more of the activities of God. Expectation grows wherever people are mindful of His supernatural nature and covenant. When the expectation grows, miracles increase. When the miracles increase, testimonies increase as well. You can see the cycle. The simple act of sharing a testimony about God can stir up others until they expect and see God work in their day.
"The reverse is also true. Where they decrease, miracles are expected less. If there is less expectation for miracles, they happen even less. As you can see, there is also a possible downward spiral. Forgetting what God has done by removing the testimony from our lips ultimately causes us to become fearful in the day of battle. The story of the children of Ephraim is tragic because they were thoroughly equipped to win. They just lacked courage. Their courage was to come from their memory of who God had been to them."
The bottom line is that, through your words of testimony, you can make a difference in your friends' lives, destroying these very clever works of the enemy, and helping your friends "come alive in the Spirit". As they begin to think about what He has done, and Him living inside of them, ready to use them in wonderful ways, they will begin to bring blessing to others, and they will glorify the Lord Jesus. This will bring a wonderful sense of fulfillment and joy to their hearts.
SHARING YOUR TESTIMONY
If God has been doing some really special things in your life, as a result of what you have discovered on this website, I would like to read about it, because the Lord probably wants your testimony on this website. Upon receiving your testimony, I will pray over it and see what the Lord wants to do with it. Our goal is to glorify God, and bring encouragement to readers. I may need to consult with you about your testimony, so please include your name and email address.
I will try to publish, on this website, everyone's testimony that I receive. Please refer specifically to the part of the website that the Holy Spirit used to bring blessing to your life. Try to keep it relatively short and to the point.
We want to "destroy the works of the devil" by using the word of your testimony (I John 3:8). Click on this link firstname.lastname@example.org to send your testimony.