“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:11 (KJV)
Testimony is a pretty powerful thing. The Hebrew word is Touwdah. It means attestation, confirmation, prophetic injunction attestation, to solemnly affirm, to confirm belief.
Over the past two days I watched two films that really touched my heart. Both films are based on true stories. I’ll try not to ruin it for you, so take the time off and watch them for yourself.
The first movie (Finding a Family) is about a kid (Alex) who works his butt of to get into Harvard. Alex’s mother was in a serious car accident, and, as a result of a series of unfortunate circumstances, Alex eventually ends up in foster care, moving from one home to the next.
The second movie (Clancy) is about a kid who runs away from home and ends up living on the street with a War Veteran. The beginning of the movie might seem real dumb (I was tempted to fall asleep), but I urge you to watch up to the end. I guarantee reward.
It was this movie — Clancy– that had (and still has) me in tears.
Clancy is a girl of about 8 years old, and she was introduced to Jesus by her grandmother. While living on the street with Nick (the veteran), she continues praying for her mum (who is in rehab) and tells Nick about Jesus — despite the fact that he is irritated by her and does not want anything to do with God or church, other than using their facilities. One night, as they celebrate their joint first birthday party, Clancy gives Nick a Book containing everything he ever needs to know — and then she shares the Gospel with him.
You know, I was just ripped apart by her sincere love for Nick and the honest manner in which she testified. There’s this one part where Clancy explains why bad stuff happens. She figures most people see death as the worst possible thing that could happen to you, but that once you know Who you’re with when you die, it’s really not such a big deal after all.
By the end of the movie, Nick speaks to one of his friends — a county police officer– who asks him what made him pull his life together. You know what Nick’s response was? He said “someone convinced me that God doesn’t hate me.”
The Message translation of 1 John 5:11 says, “This is the testimony in essence: God gave us eternal life; the life is in his Son.”
You’ve probably heard of John 3:16. It says that God loved the world (insert your name, ’cause it’s really about you) so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to bail you out. He literally sacrificed His Best of Everything, to win you back. He gave his Son as ransom for your life. If that is not the personification of love — then what is?
John 15:13 says the best way to prove your love is to die for a friend.
I’m completely dumbstruck by the fact that even though we were sinners, literally bums living off of the gutter, dirty, unworthy, despicable, unholy, (multiplied every other adjective you can think of), not deserving of honour or sacrifice — Father’s love is still so unconditional that He chose to pay the price in any case.
You know, I think we try to complicate testimony by translating it to sermon.
Romans 13 verse 10 says “You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love.”
Testimony is in essence, sharing love. It’s sharing Love. Giving account of God’s work in your life is an opportunity for the other party to connect with, and experience, God for themselves. To encounter Love.
If you go by the standard set up in Revelation 12 verse 11, the two most powerful weapons we have is Jesus’s sacrifice — the Personification of LOVE — and the testimony thereof.
This morning I had coffee with Lynzi, and I shared about the fact that if I had to devote my life to ONE singular significant cause that would be everything and the only thing that I ever did — it would be to have people encounter God. That certainly is the singular thing that changed my life, let alone my approach to God and a relationship with Him.
Johnathan Helser’s song, I’ve seen I Am, just about sums it all up.
I grew up in a traditional church where people really had a sincere love for God, but what I never quite got was what God was all about. Looking back now, I cannot understand how I was able to live, for so long, with a “ritual” christianity that taught me about the fear of God and laid good spiritual foundations in my life, but never introduced me to the Person behind the church. I don’t know whether this makes any sense to you at all, but maybe you’ve had a similar experience. You know — it’s really not about going to church. Afterall, the Church is a body, not a building. You can go to church (the building) as often and as much as you like, and attend home cell and have Bible study groups, but unless you get to know God, and meet Him Face-to-face, you’ll never get to understand the full FULLNESS of being in relationship with LOVE.
My greatest wish is that YOU might get to know Him intimately. That you might see Him Face-to-face. That you might discover the great and glorious mysteries that surround Him. And ultimately, that you might learn your destiny and purpose and identity because you know Him.
Getting back to the testimony thing, in my first ever blog post, I shared how starting this blog was really just an act of obedience, and it still is. I’m not some super christian who has sky-high super-amazing-faith all year round. But what I do know, is that I have a testimony, and that’s why I share it.
Testimony has this amazing ability to multitask.
It glorifies God, it reminds you about the amazing stuff He did and does and most assuredly will do, and it stirs up faith.
John 5 verse 9 says, “If we take human testimony at face value, how much more should we be reassured when God gives testimony as he does here, testifying concerning his Son.”
I challenge you to share testimony.
You know — it’s really not a sermon. Clancy changed Nick’s life by drawing up the Bible in six pages full of childlike doodles. Maybe you’re called to be the next Bill Johnson or Benny Hinn, I don’t know. But maybe the fact that you tell your roommate about the money God supernaturally provided, or about the lady that got healed in the check-out queue, or the dream you had the night before, can change their life.
Maybe you have to draw the Bible on the back of a cereal box, or maybe your words are the only Bible some people may ever “read”. The fact remains that TESTIMONY is how we overcome.
1 Peter 5 verse 9 says (Message translation) we’re called to speak out on God’s behalf, and to tell others of the night-and-day difference that He made for us.
So, here’s what I challenge you to do: open our mouth.
Get on Twitter. Or Facebook. Or write a blog. Share your testimony.
You probably won’t have to make a film out of your life, or write a song, but if that’s what is needed — then do it!
You know, in my experience, the Gospel is just so much more real when it’s an account and not a story or a sermon.