“Your testimony is too common, that’s why someone can ask you: ‘was it really God?’”. I was jolted when I heard a preacher make this statement because others have queried my testimony. I wanted to argue with him, but I really couldn’t. Think of someone like King David. He was the least in his family. He wasn’t even considered when Samuel the prophet asked Jesse (David’s father), about his sons. Yet, God took David, a shepherd boy, from the pasturelands to the palace. No one can dispute that God made David’s testimony extraordinary. The same could be said about several biblical heroes from Abraham to Paul, and beyond. The extraordinary nature of their testimonies showcased God’s power and mercy.
The same preacher then asked a follow-up question: “if your testimony is indistinguishable from that of an unbeliever, what then is your advantage for knowing God?” That’s a tough question, and many Christians whose testimonies are ordinary may feel the need to offer logical explanations. But the truth is if you call the God who created the heavens and the earth your Father, something ought to be undeniably different about your life. If we can spot human royalty by the pageantry that surrounds them, how much more a child of God? If our testimony has been facilitated by God, our lives will be distinguishable from people who don’t have that advantage. However, the truth is that even as a beloved child of God if you don’t apply God’s principles, you’ll miss out on all He wants to accomplish in your life.
As I reflect on these two questions, the recurring thought is that I wish I knew what I know now earlier in life. Jesus said that when we know the truth, it will set us free [John 8:32]. There are areas in my life where I am ignorant of the truth that is meant to set me free. As such, I’m not experiencing the resultant effects of knowing and living God’s truths in those areas of my life. As someone once said, “it takes time to know God and His word”. It is one thing to be able to quote passages of the Bible, but it’s another thing entirely to understand and apply that passage in a way that is profitable to your life. The latter usually requires time, wisdom and revelation. The latter also produces undeniable testimonies because we’re truly set free to experience all God intends for us.
Paul tells us that we’ve already been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ [Ephesians 1:3], and Peter tells us that God has already given us all we need for life and godliness [2 Peter 1:3]. This is our advantage as children of God: We shouldn’t have to strive for what our Father has already provided. This means I shouldn’t have unfulfilled needs because, unless the Bible is lying, God has already made provision for everything I need. These provisions are real, they simply exist in a realm I can’t perceive with my physical senses. Therefore, I need the wisdom and the revelation to make what is already real in the spiritual realm a reality for me on earth. If I lived my life this way, my testimony would be unusual.
The more I understand life, the more I realise that God designed this world to operate on principles. Therefore, it makes sense that His word outlines principles, which if followed, will produce predictable results. But there’s too much of God’s word I don’t know. There are too many of God’s principles I’m ignorant of, or not applying. As a result, there’s too much fruitless striving in my life and my testimony isn’t that uncommon. I often wonder how different my life would be if I had started studying the Bible much earlier. How many of God’s principles would I have learnt, tried and tested with tangible results by now? Maybe, like Joshua, I would’ve learnt to keep God’s word continually on my lips, meditating on it always, and carefully doing all that it says [Joshua 1:8]. If I did that, I’m certain I’d be reaping the rewards of being filled with the knowledge of God’s will. I’d be operating in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, living an extraordinarily fruitful life and increasing continually in my experience of God [Colossians 1:9-10].
With this revelation, we might be tempted to wallow in self-pity, or even become overwhelmed by how much of God’s word we don’t know. The truth is that we can’t change the past, but we can start where we are and change the future. God knew about our shortcomings long before we did, and provided a path to restoration: the inexhaustible mercies of God [Lamentation 3:22-23]. You see, my most valuable commodity is time. Unlike wealth, power or fame, I can’t get time back once I lose it. Lost time, is truly lost. But God says He can restore lost time [Joel 2:25]. Furthermore, my life is obviously not all God intends for me. Although I’m a product of my past choices and ignorance, I know that God in His mercy can veto the consequences of my past and bless me with an extraordinary future, if I start living according to His principles.
If you’re reading this, and you’ve realised that your life isn’t what it ought to be, I want you to know that God is still in the business of transforming lives. He can make you an object lesson to others to showcase His power of restoration. You can still have an extraordinary testimony if you surrender your life to Jesus today, and commit to learning and following His principles going forward. Like blind Bartimaeus, you can cry out: “Son of David, have mercy on me!” [Mark 10:46-52], and know for certain that God will not ignore your cry [Psalm 51:1, 17].