Thursday, February 9, 2017

don't miss out: strive for a fuller testimony

Kent's opening: After reading my post on the value of a “boring” testimony, my friend Eric Schansberg, Ph.D., emailed me to respectfully challenge my use of the word “testimony”. I suggested we take it outside and fight about it. Being more level headed, he offered to write a blog post. I loved it! I hope you do too.

In his recent post, Kent described boring and exciting “testimonies”. All of us are sinners. We should all accept God’s grace (Romans 6:23). But the path we travel to get there—and the stories we tell about that grace and our salvation—can range from the mundane to something out of The Jerry Springer Show.

Our whole testimony
There is another important sense in which we have testimonies. In the New Testament, the terms “saved” and “salvation” are used broadly. We are saved from our sin. But…

  • Peter notes we’re also saved from a profitless life (I Peter 1:18)
  • David writes about being saved from adversity and enemies (Psalm 109:31)
  • Paul says we’re not saved by good works (Ephesians 2:8-9) but to do good works (Ephesians 2:10)
There’s more to our salvation—and our testimony—than merely the path to our conversion. The ongoing work of a Christian’s life – our whole testimony – should not be boring.

We’re walking with an awesome Father who is active in this world. The Son modeled an exciting life. And we’re empowered through the Holy Spirit living in us. God wants great things for us as we walk with Him and work for Him. If your whole testimony is boring, then you’re missing out!

Living an exciting story
I want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and be a hero in my family, at work, and with my neighbor. Anybody can love those who are nice to us (Matthew 5:46). But I want to love difficult people like Jesus did. Most people can do the easy stuff and avoid the easy temptations. But I want to be an engaged father who does the difficult things and avoids the difficult temptations.

Most people can say good stuff. But I want to say the perfect words, perfectly. I want to have difficult conversations well—with courage, tact, and grace. With a bit of experience, patience, and humility, we can all have some wisdom. But I want to be led by the Spirit to see things I would not otherwise discern. I want to be empowered by God to say and do things I can’t do on my own.

David writes: “My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long…I will come and proclaim your mighty acts” (Psalm 71:15-16). David is not describing his point-in-time salvation; he’s talking about the daily acts of God in his life.

I want to model a godly life for my boys. And I want to share this testimony with them—how great God is and how much He wants for us and from us. May all of God’s children strive to walk with Him—in such a way that they will have an exciting, passionate testimony about the mighty things God has done in their lives. And may we pass this sort of vibrant faith along to our children.

Eric is Professor of Economics at IU Southeast in New Albany, IN. He’s the author of Turn Neither to the Right nor to the Left: A Thinking Christian’s Guide to Politics and Public Policy and the co-author of Thoroughly Equipped: A Disciple-Making Curriculum. More important, he’s been Tonia’s husband for 21 years and they’re trying to raise “a few good men”, ages 12-18.


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