Testimony time is usually a time everyone looks forward to in most church services. When we were younger, brethren shared their testimony freely. Nowadays, the testimony must go through the screening of the “testimony unit”. The purpose is to ensure that the testifier wastes no time on the unnecessary part of the narrative when the testifier gets to the stage. Someone is also on the ground to ensure that the testifier waste no time allocated.
The moment the testimony is finished, we worship God for what he has done and pray that God do similar wonders in our lives. This age’s testimonies differ from those of the bible times because some given to carnality try to impress others with their stories.
In the bible days, several testimonies were recorded. For example, the story of Abraham is a testimony of God’s faithfulness. Same with miracles and victories God gave men and nations in the Bible. Other testimonies in the Bible do not provide the testifier joy. For example, Joseph’s testimony of how God helped him escape the temptation of Potiphar’s wife is not a pleasant story. Nevertheless, Joseph stood for God and refused to bow to whoredom.
This article will compare Joseph’s testimony and what is obtainable nowadays in church. Mainly, Joseph saw the end of the testimony as more critical.
The narrative of any testimony usually consists of the problem or challenge or mountain, the deliverance of the Lord and the steps of faith taken by the individual involved.
The problem may be in the area of health, finances, family, education and fruit of the womb, to mention a few. The step of faith could be prayer, fasting, giving, or confession of specific scriptures. The deliverance of the Lord is just how God did it.
For example, if father Abraham gave his testimony, he would narrate his twenty-five years of childlessness as the problem. The step of faith he took was that he obeyed God in several ways. One of the steps of faith was that he began to answer Abraham (father of many nations) and his wife Sarah (mother of nations) when they had no children, irrespective of the mockery attached to such an act. He also entertained angels and took a step of faith by having intercourse at an ancient age. The deliverance of God was that God quickened their mortal body. A ninety-year-old woman ovulated, and a hundred-year-old man produced a seed that became Isaac.
During Sarah’s gestation period, God made her body function as though she was younger. Sarah’s delivery is also a wonder in an age without advanced medical technology and science. Hannah also was in a similar situation; she prayed, and God showed up. I pray that God in heaven will give everyone reading a very big testimony in all areas of life in the name of Jesus.
In the New Testament, the apostle hardly shares the testimony of material things and how God showed up in terms of finances; instead, they describe how they are partakers of the suffering of Christ Jesus. The account of Paul in II Corinthian 11:23-28 is a classic example. Can you imagine someone sharing this in your local assembly?
23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
Suppose anyone shares this type of testimony in our time. In that case, none of the congregation members will gladly say, “God let it happen to me too”. Paul wanted the gospel to reach everyone, and he saw all these as a price he ought to pay. The end that gave Paul joy is the testimony that men were saved.
In our dispensation, we must acknowledge that the good things we consider as testimony are a means to an end: to take Jesus our good news to men who have yet to hear and receive him. The new house, car, job, marriage, and all the contemporary manifestations of God’s glory in our lives are soul-winning.
A good example is the life of David, the man after God’s own heart. He was with King Saul, and he shared two testimonies. David shared these testimonies because King Saul did not know where he got the courage to confront Goliath without any armour and military training.
I Samuel 17:33-36
33Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.”
34But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep.
When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on
me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.
I will attempt to share some of the things the Lord has shown me about this testimony of David. First, David did not attack the wild animals because he wanted to show strength but to rescue the sheep. The sheep were the real contention between David and the wild animals. Just like Paul, the apostle went through perils to save souls, David put his life on the line and rescued the sheep.
David, in his account, said he rescued the sheep that the lion carried off, and when the lion turned on him, he seized the lion by its hair, struck it, and killed it. Had it been the lion walked away without turning on David, the testimony would have stopped at the point where David rescued the sheep. Nowadays, the most crucial portion of the testimony is how God helped us tear the lions and the bears.
The aspect of rescuing the sheep is not at the forefront. How many people became a follower of Jesus as a result of testimony. Our generation needs to recognize that every testimony and deliverance is a viable tool for soul-winning and not merely boasting our status in Christ Jesus. The flock represents the human race.
15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
The lion represents the devil as seen in I Peter 5:8 .
8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
The sheep carried off represents the unsaved man or woman the devil intends to devour. A sheep in the mouth of a lion is in an unsafe situation. Death is the only fate that befalls such sheep. If you do nothing, the sheep (sinner) in the mouth of the lion will be killed and go to hell fire. When you pray fervently to get a job, you just tore a lion, but all the unbelievers in that place of work are in the mouth of another lion, the devil. You are now to rescue them prayerfully and with evangelism.
Bro Gbile Akanni, a great teacher of the word, once shared that the people in hell fire always desire that their relations on this side of eternity do not come to the place of torment which they are. The request made by the rich man in Luke 16:27 established this.
27 “He (the rich man) answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
Anytime you have the opportunity to speak to them about Jesus, and you don’t, you are failing God. That your new teaching job gives you an excellent opportunity to rescue many unsaved students. Hence, rescuing them from the mouth of the lion.
The healing and deliverance God gives you is a platform to share God’s goodness with the unsaved. The Lord is seriously counting on us for everything regarding rescuing the sheep. Sheep rescuing is at the centre of all. Your new car can save sheep by allowing missionaries to use it for evangelism. I once heard the testimony of a brother whose car was borrowed by missionaries for a mission trip. There was an accident that damaged the vehicle. However, there was no fatality when the missionaries returned from the mission field. The head of the mission organization was worried that the mission organization would have to bear the repair cost. The brother said they should not fear because he knew his car had rescued the sheep.
I have seen a pastor post a picture of a power bike on social media saying, “don’t hate”. I said to myself, how will this rescue a sheep?
God is calling our attention to a critical thing now. So, always ask yourself, “how will this wonder/blessing of God rescue a sheep”?
I pray that God will give us wisdom not only to tear the lion but also to rescue the sheep