I love books. I learned to read at an early age, and have loved doing so for all of my life. A lot of my reading is done these days on my phone – there’s an app for that. While I still love the weight of a book in my hands, the gentle rustle of turned pages, even the smell of older books is the aroma of a good adventure. But my phone will hold a TON of books, and it goes everywhere with me, and practically it is more convenient to read that way. But as much as I love books, can you imagine the sheer number of books that John is talking about in chapter 21, verse 25? Especially now, in the 20-plus centuries since that line was written.
Where are those books? There should be piles of them somewhere, right? I mean, those testimonies to the power of Jesus are all shared somewhere, right? Nope. Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of books out there of people who are willing to share what they have been delivered from and stories of miracles to fill libraries to over-flowing. But that really is only scratching the surface, isn’t it?
For some reason, the majority of people are unwilling to share what Jesus has done for them. Oh they give thanks in prayer and song, but how many church leaders share their witness on a regular basis? There are a lot of reasons not to do so. You might think your story is not exciting or relevant enough to hold someone’s attention. You might not have the time to tell it like you feel it deserves to be told. Or <insert horrified shudder>, it may be that the person you used to be is embarrassing to the person you are now!
First off, if you have a story of deliverance from anything, you are not the only person ever saved from whatever your particular flavor of sin was; nor will you be the last one held captive by that sin, so rest assured that your story is relevant to somebody. More importantly, your story is important to GOD, and HE deserves your taking the time to glorify Him with singing His praises from the rooftops. What was your salvation worth to you?
That covers the first two excuses, so let’s try the embarrassment card now. This one really does not fly with me. Whether you call it embarrassment, disgrace, humiliation, indignity or shame, that is one of the biggest tools the enemy keeps at hand to silence us. “But if people knew what I had done!” Yeah, you messed up. Welcome to the club, jack. I look back on the years before I knew Christ up close and personal-like, and it would be real easy to close the door on that; to lock it up and throw away the key and pretend it never happened. But I cannot do that. I will not do that because the power of Jesus Christ grabbed hold of me and resurrected me body and soul and to deny the past that led me that turning point would be to deny that power; and even though I spent the first thirty-four years of my life running as far from that power as I could, I am caught up in it now like a leaf in a tidal wave.
Cristy and I have sat down with couples over the last few years that had lost all hope. They kept trying to make it work, but even with the best of intentions, trying to make a go of it without God is almost impossible. I say ‘almost’ because there are people who manage to make ‘a go of it’ without Him, but how miserable does that phrase ‘make a go of it’ sound compared to a life filled with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? One thing that all of these couples have in common is that they knew there was something that they were missing. Sharing our testimony of the miracles that God has worked in our lives gave them hope. They could see the light of Jesus working in ways they had never imagined were possible. They found hope where moments before there had been absolutely none. What if, instead of Cristy and I, you had found yourself sitting with one of these couples? You have a testimony, I know you do. You know it, and most importantly, GOD knows it. Could you swallow the <insert horrified shudder> shame of your past and share the wonders of His love with someone who just needs to know that there is a God that loves them and testify about how He can restore hope? If not, then your shame should not lie in your past, but in your present. Anyone can do this. You don’t have to have a story of abuse and adultery and delighting in sin to the point of it almost killing you to have an effect on people. You just have to understand that IT IS NOT YOUR STORY. It’s His.Read Day 17 Devotion by Cristy