This Sunday we have the joy of seeing three people being baptised as part of our morning worship.
There are many things to celebrate as part of baptism, and I suspect that something which stands out for many of us is hearing people’s stories of how they came to faith and what has led them to decide to be baptised.
I’m certainly looking forward to hearing from Faith, Gordon, and Gerry this Sunday.
For those of us who have already been baptised, seeing other people go through the waters of baptism can/should remind us of our own baptism.
It should also, I hope, remind us that we all have a testimony to share!
When I was a kid there was a certain book and film which was popular with many Christians. It was The Cross & The Switchblade, which detailed/dramatised the amazing coming to Jesus of Nicky Cruz who, before he met Jesus, was the “warlord” of the notorious New York gang, the Mau Maus. Some of the people I looked up to in the church in which I grew up also had, what I thought were, amazing testimonies of coming to faith.
Just recently, at the church my dad and brother are part of, they baptised a guy who, before Jesus changed his life, was a significant drug dealer in their area.
God is in the business of transforming lives; He is in the business of doing what seems impossible (Matt 19:25 – 26). Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
What is amazing?
I remember going through a period where I felt my testimony was inadequate, especially compared to Nicky Cruz or other people I knew or had heard of.
At our church when it was your birthday you’d be invited to “give a word of testimony” about what God had done in your life that year. I remember feeling like I needed to “jazz” my testimony up …I wanted an amazing testimony.
An Exercise in getting it wrong!
My desire to have an “amazing testimony” was problematic on at least two levels.
Firstly, it probably came from a place of insecurity, of wanting to be liked or accepted – it came from a place of wanting it to be about me!
What I’d not realised at that point is the story we tell in our testimony is not about how we are amazing, but about how amazing God is. A testimony points to Jesus, points to the Father, and speaks of the work of the Spirit in this world and in our lives.
Coming to that realisation helped me with the second problem of how I’d been thinking about my testimony.
What God did in Nicky Cruz’s life is amazing.
As a kid/teen, I felt my testimony was not worth sharing in comparison to the testimonies I was hearing from other people. Perhaps you have felt or currently feel the same.
But here’s a powerful truth …everything God does is amazing.
My testimony is not one of being saved from a life of crime, or gang, or drugs. But that does not mean that what God has done in my life is not amazing. What God has done in my life is amazing because He is amazing!
I know and continue to know and experience God’s amazing love.
I have known and continue to know that God loves and accepts me, even when at times I don’t love or accept myself.
I have received his amazing grace – grace which has changed and continues to change me in ways I am only partially aware of.
I have known and continue to know God’s amazing hesed; His loyal, steadfast, correcting loving kindness.
I have known His guidance and his comfort, His presence, His discipline.
I have known healing and seen God heal people. I have sensed and felt the power of the Spirit alone in prayer and with God’s gathered people.
I have known God to stick with me in the midst of doubts, and surprise me in unexpected ways.
We all have an amazing testimony
I’m not particularly comfortable with how many times I used the word “I” above, but hopefully you get the point …we all have an amazing testimony because the God who loves us and saves us is amazing.
The teenage me needed to learn to stop comparing myself to other people and learn to celebrate who I am in God and how he was working in my life. I’m grateful I learned that lesson (a lesson I at times forget) early in life.
Fix your eyes on Jesus
We all have a wonderful and amazing testimony to share of what God has done, is doing, and will do in our lives. So, I have two encouragements for you.
- Share your testimony. Pray and look for opportunities to share your testimony, especially with people who are not yet following Jesus.
- Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and don’t compare your testimony with other people. God loves you; he loves your story, he loves the adventure he and you and on together.
You – yes YOU – have an amazing story to tell of what God has done, is doing, and will do in your life. I pray your eyes would be open, so you see and know our amazing God is at work, and has been at work in your life, in incredible ways.
Grace and peace.