Our Testimony and Our Witness
As men of God we claim to be men of faith but we all deal with fear. Even though the word of God says that with him all things are possible to him that believes, when we rely on our own ability we will sink in the seas of life. Paul, when he had finished his assignment said in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” Paul’s life story was a witness and a testimony to his living Lord.
Despite the trials and tribulations, when Paul fell, he rose to the occasion to fight the good fight and finish the faith. As John the Baptist said, the purpose for our lives is that we may decrease so that Jesus Christ may increase. According to Oswald Chambers, when we become “insidiously preoccupied with self,” we need to come to the realization that as Paul said, “In me dwelleth no good thing. However, thy strength is made perfect in my weakness, thy grace is sufficient for me.”
Thad Montgomery has been praying over 30 years for deliverance for his 48 year old younger son who has been addicted to drugs since the age of 15. Many years ago while in a small group studying CS Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters,” Thad started a ten year process of recording his thoughts of how he felt while living in fear or faith. Here are some of his entries: “Fear causes me not to take risks, whereas faith allows me to risk. Fear says I can’t. Faith says I can. Fear causes me to lose my grip. Faith causes me to grow.” According to Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
1 Tim 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of Power and of love and of a sound mind.” Reverence and submission to God’s loving command will overcome fear. Hebrews 11:1 says that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
When Thad’s younger son was only 15, he started using marijuana. Thad started attending an Alanon family care program to deal with his son’s addiction. Thad began losing control even though he regularly attended the meetings. He admits that he was just “auditing” the program and as a result plunged into depression for many years. After ten years, Thad found a sponsor to help him commit to the 12 steps to deal with his son’s disease and addiction. Through this long ordeal, Thad has experienced fear and anxiety. His wife has been a great support who was committed to the program from the beginning. Thad’s son’s cycle of addiction, withdrawal, detox and relapse has continued for the last thirty years. Thad has discovered that tough love for his son is tough. This past week Thad’s son has reached 90 days of sobriety. Thad acknowledged that he and his son’s “higher power” is Jesus Christ.
Thad lost his older son two years ago. He was a godly man who lost his life at an early age. Thad is confident that he will see his son again in heaven. Throughout the ordeals of this life Thad reminds us that our testimony is our story in the context of history… His story. Our lives are a testimony and a witness of God’s grace, mercy and love.
God brings us to the end of our own abilities so that we can tap into His ability. Through the long and winding road of life, God never gives up on any of us. Through the emotional pain of life, we don’t rejoice in the pain. However God allows the pain so that we can understand that comfort and rejoicing is in the glory of God. Christians who are seasoned in the faith understand that despite the suffering, thy grace is sufficient for me. At Gesthemane, Jesus prayed, “Father, if there be any other way, let this cup of suffering and death pass from me.” Then he prayed the freedom prayer, “nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” There is a purpose for the pain. The purpose is that not my will but thine be done. The purpose is to subject my will to his will. The next question is, “how do I deal with the he pain?” The world will say, take care of the symptom by alleviating the pain, but don’t deal with the root problem. However, Jesus never dealt with the symptom, he always dealt with the root of the problem. When Nicodemus came to Jesus with his problem, Jesus said that the solution was “you must be born again.” The adversary will turn our hearts to alleviate the symptom with drugs, alcohol, or whatever the self-medication to fuel our addiction. However, Jesus cuts to the root of the problem. The solution to the problem is not in our ability. The solution is our availability: availing ourselves of His ability.
Whatever the physical problem, the root cause is always spiritual. There is a limit to what man can do. Some things are beyond man’s ability. However with God all things are possible to him that believeth. Even the wind and the waves during the midst of the storm were subject to his command when Jesus said, “peace be still.”
Fear is phobia and anxiety as a result of being aware of danger. There are a hundreds of phobias for specific things. “Normal” people would think that many of these phobias are unreasonable. However God says, “I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God’s solution is not to remove the pain. Rather his purpose is to deliver us through the pain and tribulation of this world.
To make it to the place where Paul said I’ve finished the course, I have faught the good fight, we must come to Paul’s conclusion, whether by death or by life, my purpose is the furtherance of the gospel. My life is not for my own glory but rather for His glory. My purpose is to glorify God that my life may be a living epistle of his work within me to will and to do of his good pleasure. My eyes are on the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus. To live without fear, live in the peace, grace, mercy and love of God. To get through the pain, we need to come to the place where we understand that thy strength is made perfect in my weakness, thy grace is sufficient for me.
The prophet Jeremiah said, “morning by morning new mercies I see.” God gives enough love and strength and mercy and grace for each new day. My God will make a way when there is no way. Jesus said, “come unto me all ye who are weak and heavy laden and I will give thee rest.” God is the author writing each chapter in the book of our lives…for ye are our epistles, our letters from God, written not in tables of stone, but in the tables of the heart, known and read of all men. Our testimony is our witness written by the loving hand of God. Our lives are a record for history… Our-story in the context of His-story.
May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,