On Friday, I mentioned retired footballer Gary Lineker’s comment, calling religion “bonkers”, and suggested that it was an opportunity to re-examine what we believe and why.
It’s important to do that anyway, even when there hasn’t been a direct assault on our faith or religion, because the “cares of this world” (Matthew 13:22) can be relentless in their attempts at diverting our attention away from God and our relationship with Him.
The funny thing about testimony is, while you might have no problem telling someone else about the miracles you’ve seen and your experiences since Jesus Christ came into your life, you may have trouble telling yourself.
We all go through a “personal Egypt” — a time of being enslaved by our sin and separation from God. It’s a time when we thought we could do everything ourselves and that if we slipped and fell, we just needed to “pick ourselves up by our bootstraps” and “get it together”. And if we couldn’t, well, that was our fault.
Then we see Jesus and start heading towards Him, leading to a time of wandering through the wilderness. Eventually we reach the Promised Land — our own salvation and a deeper relationship with God.
The word “Deuteronomy” means “second telling”, and in one sense, it’s a reminder of the laws and commandments Moses brought down from Mount Sinai after his meetings with God. But it’s also a second telling of the experiences they had gone through over the previous forty years. In that book, Moses recaps all the things they had experienced, the trials they had witnessed, and the ways God had pulled them through. They would face even more trials as they possessed their Promised Land, and they needed to know that God had brought them this far, and would take them the rest of the way — so long as they remained faithful and obedient.
And that’s what we need to do from time to time — and especially when we face situations that seem to be beyond our control: we need to remind ourselves what God has done for us, even speaking out loud, so we can hear it from our own lips — as if we were the other person we’ve testified to in the past.
Recently, we were chatting with a young friend whom we hadn’t seen in a while. She told us about the good things happening in her life, and everything — and I mean, everything — was credited to God. Even her career success, the promotions and praise from her managers, were attributed to “God’s favor”. There was at least one person listening to the conversation, who I could sense was a little uncomfortable with that theme and was possibly scoffing at the idea; but that was this girl’s testimony.
Your experience with Christ and is your testimony, which no one can deny. They might question what the Bible says or scoff that religion is “bonkers” and “brain-washing”, but they can’t take away your experience.
So give yourself two minutes for cross-checking: a brief reminder of where you were, where you are, and how Jesus brought you there.