Sunday, July 5, 2015

Stabilized by God's word in times of testing yields a powerful testimony

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 whocomforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

What brings stability in an unstable world 
Years ago I heard it said that when your Bible is worn out, and falling apart, it is testimony to a faith that is enduring and holding firmly together. This world and all that is in it holds nothing in store for the amount of hope and strength needed to get through it. Unless the Risen exalted Christ, crucified, dead, buried, raised and ascended is embraced by faith, and is focused upon in growing faith - all is lost. Nothing is stable. These sentiments are not expressed in melodrama by me - they are fact.  It is from the grounded powders of broken hearts and ashes of burnt down hopes of this life that desparation for God is often scene in stark contrast. Craving God's Word and hanging on every Word of the Risen Christ becomes the sole focus. How else can God's people be effective in ministering God's love to a broken world lest they be broken? Powerful testimonies always result from the brokeness of the human will yielded to the will of God. 
Three chapters in God's Word help us to see how God's Word in times of testing yields a powerful testimony.

Proverbs 15-16 on the stabilizing influence of God's Word 
Proverbs 15 shows us how the Word of God functions to bring stability to the human soul composed of mind, emotions, will and conscience. Different issues are presented in the chapter that are then to be addressed by interaction with the scriptures. Proverbs 15 breaks down as follows: 

A. 15:1-7 deals with issues of speech; B. 15:8-15 deals with matters of the heart; 
C. 15:16-21 is concerned about the emotional life; 
D. 15:22-25 focuses upon the thought life 
E. 15:26-33 majors on matters of the human will. 

Proverbs 16 reveals how all of these various areas of the human soul work in concert with God's Sovereignty. Whenever His Word is applied to various areas of my human personality or soul, my mind will deem His will to be most excellent. My heart will then follow suit, concluding that His will is the best course of action. Such a process, Divinely worked out by the Holy Spirit through His Word, results in my human will aligning with His own. God's Sovereignty and human responsibility are complementary truths and Proverbs 16 presents both in the same chapter. 

2 Corinthians 1 and the makings of a powerful testimony
The book of 2 Corinthians begins with Paul explaining the important truth of a Godly testimony. A good testimony always has, like the word itself, a "test". Paul explains what is involved in a good testimony in 2 Corinthians 1: 

A. Convictions came to be more prized than comfort (1:1-7); 
B. A choice to go forward or hang back (1:8-11); 
C. Confidence for faith gained because of the trial (1:12-18) 
D. Consideration of God's glory and attributes. (1:19-24) 

Both Proverbs and 2 Corinthians give us the recipe needed to be stabilized in times of testing. Rigorous and repeated giving of ourselves to God in His Word and trials yields a powerful testimony. Such truths may sound contradictory, yet they are true nonetheless. To conceive of a Christianity that is pain free and that can be lived apart from the scripture is the stuff of pipe dreams. The likelihood of owning beachfront property in Colorado is greater than a Christian who has a powerful testimony with no testings and no time in the Word. May you and I today go forth being stabilized by God's Word and aiming to have a great testimony for the glory of Jesus Christ.