Don’t ever say this.
He’s got a crazy testimony. He was doing meth and punching babies and racing cops and kicking animals but then he hid in a church from the Feds and a pastor popped up from the floor and — I just grew up in church and got saved.
Yes, you got saved.
You were brought from death to life.
It’s not a competition!
I am equally moved by the testimony of a man who was saved out of a criminal record just as much as the guy who went to church every weekend with his parents. Jesus is just as thrilled.
Atheist-Muslim-Hindu-Buddhist-Wiccan-pagan, homosexuals, sex addicts, drug addicts, alcoholics, people-pleasers, sexually abused, the angry, fearful, timid, voiceless, the churched — we were all headed for certain death and destruction.
And then Jesus happened.
Every word you spoke was
to pretend you were someone you were not,
full of agenda and veneer,
every word to protect yourself,
at the cost of others,
self-orbiting, self-centered, self-absorbed, self-serving,
justifying, rationalizing, making excuses,
without destiny or a destination,
building on collapsible foundations,
a dollar amount or trophies in the case or body image or recovery group or religious attendance,
and inside pieces slowly died,
because you were already dead.
You were set free.
You could serve without motives.
With joy, with patience, no recognition.
You got all the approval you needed.
You laid down weapons of manipulation and dominance.
Your voice stopped terrorizing.
You became qualified, accepted, affirmed, confirmed.
You were broken out of yourself.
Other people became more important.
You could love without expectation.
Idols were assassinated and fired.
You could lead, inspire, create life, confess, be a breath of fresh air.
You became real.
But none of this from you,
but because you were made alive
Can we help but sing about this?
Can you believe: that no matter where you’ve been, even if you feel like it was nowhere, that you are now friends with the Most High?
A good testimony is simply: Before Jesus, after Jesus. That’s the Good News.
It’s good news for everyone.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Ephesians 2:1-10
In His Grip,