Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio. This blog post is based on a sermon by Peter DeWitt. You can hear the whole sermon, The Process of Faith (part 3), by clicking here.
Get Back to Your Testimonies!
We have to get back to our testimonies! We need to keep them before our eyes! Psalms 78 carries this theme throughout its verses. The theme of the psalm is about the Israelites keeping a testimony – or, more accurately, failing to keep a testimony. When you read that psalm, you will even see that the Israelites tested God in the wilderness by not keeping the testimony (vv. 40-49). You may think “I am sure God is gracious with us not keeping His testimonies when times get tough . . .” Yes, He is gracious and compassionate, but God is saying “That’s the most important time to keep a testimony!” Ps 78 says “their days were consumed in futility and their years in fear” (v.33). Why? Because they didn’t keep a testimony! Look at what God did to get them out of Egypt – how could they forget!?! How could they doubt God now!?! But, don’t be too quick to judge them, because, like the Israelites, we loose touch with the memories of what God has done to set us free! The testimonies of what God did in Egypt are supposed to come with you to the promised land – carrying you through the wilderness! The testimonies of God are meant to be passed on to future generations – not sat on, hidden, kept away, forgotten. It’s God’s testimony, but its stewardship becomes our responsibility!
We have become God’s witnesses in this land! We have seen Him move. We have seen His hand. Do not fail to share what He has done! You may think “how am I going to share all that He has done? I want to, but I just know I am going to struggle to do that right now if I am honest with myself.” First off, good job being honest. Secondly, here’s a trick for you . . . start by reminding yourself of all He has done for you! That’s the way your testimonies will start to overflow to those you know. The reality is that once you remind yourself enough about His great goodness towards you, you cannot help but share His goodness with others! The only times I am not bubbling over to others about what God has done in my life is when I am not bubbling over inside about what God has done in my life! You and I both need to remember what God has done in our lives! He wants our moments with Him to become momentum with Him!
For instance, as I write this, in just the past 2 or 3 months God has given me multiple, powerful, prophetic words. These words have been very specific to me – personal words that have already begun to impact my life very positively. He has spoken to me directly and He has even given other people words for me (sometimes without them knowing why what they were sharing was so meaningful to me!) In just the past few months, God has spoken to me about my career. He has spoken to me about the timing of things. He has even gently corrected my heart attitude about a couple of items in a very encouraging and liberating way. In just the past few months, God has often given me insight for others when I have asked Him for it. He has brought breakthrough to organizations through prayerful declaration. God has even given me a matching set of 1920’s hand planes to gift to my boys for Christmas . . . with slightly different colored Brazilian Rosewood handles so that they can tell who’s plane is who’s. God is good! He loves me!
All of those stories of His goodness are within just the last 2 to 3 months, and I, for the sake of time, am omitting many other testimonies! Not to mention that we received a healthy baby boy just 3 months ago! We’ve seen a precious person led to the Lord – and individuals and families transformed by God’s Word! And that’s just all in our family’s experience – we HAVE SEEN IT! And just think about what you have seen Him do in just the past few months! If you have received Jesus as your savior prior today, you woke up SAVED this morning! You woke up breathing this morning. Most of you woke up in a comfortable bed and had supportive shoes to put on your feet today. You likely had 3 square meals. He has provided to us so well. Let us not forget the little things. Let us not forget the big things. When we remember HIS THINGS – momentum begins grow.
Our growing momentum is exactly what the enemy is opposed to. And because the enemy is opposed to our momentum, he is definitely opposed to our testimony! God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. So what does the enemy do? He supports pride and resists anything that gives us grace! The enemy is set against your testimony, because your testimony turns MOMENTS WITH GOD INTO MOMENTUM WITH GOD.
The enemy is looking for life to slow you down. Satan is looking for your focus to change – that is the essence of friction. Friction will change your focus – over the little things. Prior to friction, your motion (momentum) is in one direction – your face may be set like a flint, but friction works in the opposite direction – changing your focus. Remember, it’s only a force that will slow down momentum. Momentum on its own will continue indefinitely – something has to stop it. .
I recently read a Benny Hinn quote on Twitter “Keep your focus, keep the anointing. Lose your focus, lose the anointing.” Think about it, the anointing is always for a purpose, for a role, for a task. In other words, the anointing is purposeful. Jesus recounted Isaiah 61 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me TO . . . preach, heal, proclaim, comfort, console, and give . . . that He (God) may be glorified.” The anointing is TO DO something – to complete a certain task, to play a specific role.
The specificity of Jesus’ anointing had more than one analog in the Old Testament. Look at David, for instance. Why was David anointed by Samuel? The answer is David was anointed by Samuel for a specific task – to be Israel’s King! The anointing of God is always for a specific role. Consider also at what Ps. 133 says about the anointing: God places the anointing (represented by the oil in Ps. 133) in the context of unity. Why is the anointing of God is on the place of unity? Because, in a place of unity, there is a singular focus. Lose your focus; lose the anointing. Keep your focus, keep the anointing. God cannot anoint you for “anything and everything.” He will anoint you (He will anoint us) for a specific task.
One of the best ways to recognize God’s anointing in your life is to LOOK AT AND RECOUNT WHAT HE HAS DONE! To recall YOUR TESTIMONIES! The pattern of His testimonies in your life will often show you what His Hand is on. God wants to create a continuity of action in your life. He wants your progression with Him to be progressive! He is planning right now for you to go from glory to glory! God wants to add more to more. Nevertheless, we often let friction steal our focus and throw us off course – without us even noticing it! Friction attacks your focus. The enemy is able to silently friction away our momentum because we have lost out testimonies. The enemy can steal our momentum because we have lost our testimonies. Friction only functions outside the context of testimony. The little things of life do not weigh you down when you are constantly remembering the goodness of God. We have let our testimony be hidden, cut off, laid aside, and forgotten, and, therefore, friction has its full effect.
The testimonies of God keep you focused – even in the presence of friction – on what He has done and what He is doing – allowing you to continually access His anointing in your life and on your ministry! Focusing on and recalling His testimonies throughout the day will actually cause you to slide right over the friction of life. Recalling the testimonies keeps you cruising as though your “skids were greased.” Remember, momentum is only going to be lost due to a force applied to it. And one of those forces that life and the enemy apply to your momentum is frictional force – the little things throughout the day. Keep the testimony! Recount what God’s been doing! Hear the testimonies of others! It will cause you to just sort of glide over those frictional things and not lose the momentum God is wanting to build upon in your life. The testimonies of God grease the skids against friction.
While friction is slow and steady opposition, applied forces are more punctuated and powerful. Applied forces are oppositional forces you can probably remember and tell someone about. These “applied forces” are potentially traumatic experiences. While friction operates in aggregate effect to reduce or halt your momentum in faith, some traumatic experiences will seemingly bring your faith to a screeching halt – and in an instant. To be frank, the circumstances of life (and sometimes the move of the enemy) can produce some rough results at time. Loosing a loved one before their time can leave your internal world spinning. The old phrase “come hell or high water” has stuck as a colloquial expression for good reason – it accurately describes how traumas come about. Sometimes hell seems to arrive at your doorstep, but other times it just rained to much. Regardless of the difficulty’s origin, we are likely to experience some curveballs in life – some of which can be quite traumatic.
The key with trauma is to remember that the originated outside of you – and to keep it that way! The traumatic experience may be affecting you but it did not come from you. That said, the enemy will often try to make you internalize the trauma so that he can begin to generate cycles of fear and oppression from within you . . . then trauma will be here to stay in your heart and your life. This is what many ministers call a spirit of trauma. Have you ever noticed (in your life, or the life of others) sometimes a single bad event turns into a recurring cycle of related bad events? Often, that is not just “bad luck” but the result of traumatic experience taking root in someone’s life. The spirit of trauma looks to gain entry into people’s hearts at the most opportune time. It starts to by getting you to think “wow, that was bad. That was really bad . . .” It continues by getting you to think “man, I sure hope that doesn’t happen again. I don’t know what I would do if that happened again. I don’t know if I could take it.” Pretty soon, you are visualizing it happening again and you have unintentionally invited fear into your heart and as a result your momentum in faith has come to a complete halt. You have become oppressed. You will know you are oppressed because some joy is just oddly missing – you are depressed. Once the enemy has you in that spot, he can actually terrorize you from the inside out. (Isa 54:14)
Think about how different a “traumatic expectation” is, though, from a hopeful expectation in God. God wants to give you “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” In other words, God wants to surprise and delight you! Trauma on the other hand can get you expecting “worse that you could even imagine.” As a mindset, trauma is accurately typified by how you feel if you were to watch horror film: “don’t open that door!” Being delighted over and over by God’s goodness, on the other hand causes you to say “I can’t wait to see what God has in store!” Many of us may not have specific traumatic experiences that are limiting our faith, but may notice that we are “opportunity averse” in life. We habitually pre-visualize and prepare for the worst potential outcomes of things first. We count the cost more than we see the opportunity. Jesus said wise builders count the cost, yes . . . but we should joyfully visualize the opportunities as well! “Opportunity” comes before “cost” in the classic business phrase – “opportunity cost.” We should see things from that perspective as well. God has great things in store for us! I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner for me! We are far too limited by fear! God is wanting us to step out in faith. When we step out, He will step up. But many of us find ourselves waiting for Him to step up before we will step out. We are still operating in fear, but “the righteous shall live by faith!” Isaiah 54:14 puts it so strongly: “In righteousness you will be established. You shall be far from oppression for you shall not fear!”
So, what do you do when life is traumatic? PULL OUT YOUR TESTIMONIES. When life doesn’t look like what God intended, feast your eyes and mind on times when it did look like what God intended! The testimony will carry you through the testing of your faith! “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.” (Ps 27:13)
A key component to accessing a faith-filled life style – a life style of not just momentary faith, but abiding and growing and momentum-gaining faith is . . . stewarding the testimonies God has given you. Keep your focus on what He has done and is doing, and when necessary cling to the stories of past breakthrough until you see Him again come through for you.
God bless you!