Have you ever stopped and thought about your testimony? Not your pulpit-ready testimony that provides listeners with a recounting of experience or statement of belief. Don't get me wrong, I love those testimonies. I love the conversion testimony of Paul. Had I been among the church in Galatia reading it in Paul's own hand in the letter penned by the former-persecutor I would have been on the edge of my seat. I love to hear first-person accounts of being lost and then found, blind and then restored to 20/20 spiritual sight.
Years ago I wrote down my testimony. I even read it in front of my church congregation on Mother's Day. It was a duel testimony giving witness to God's ability to rescue and restore and the power of a Mother's prayers. My Mom cried (tears of joy) and I experienced the overwhelming peace of proclaiming my belief and faith in Jesus Christ.
Before I gave that testimony I thought long and hard about what I would say. I looked back at how Paul described his experience and I read his many letters attesting to the power of God. I wrote out rough drafts and crumpled up pieces of paper written with conviction until the message was just right. It was important to me that my testimony be communicated accurately, telling the whole story and the truth, nothing but the truth.
I can say with certainty that I stopped and thought about that testimony but what about that second testimony? The most important testimony I will ever write, and the one that will be of infinitely greater impact than any word I could ever say, is the testimony I tell each day with my attitude and actions. It is my unspoken witness for Christ that makes or breaks the written testimony. The testimony I tell with my tongue lives and dies by the sword of my everyday life. The person I am said to be on paper is known as fact or fiction by my behavior.
It is a daunting thought, don't you think? I can know every Bible verse and reference by heart (which I don't) and that wouldn't make my testimony great. I could have thousands of followers on this blog and books published with my name on the cover and chapters dedicated to faith and still that wouldn't write my witness. It couldn't because my witness can't be written in black and white. My testimony isn't the sum of what I say. It is in who I am when no one is looking, in the places of my heart that no one can see. My true testimony is the way I treat others and the look I wear upon my face. My testimony is who I am known as. Or, more importantly, whose I'm known as.
The only testimony that I want to tell, that is worth telling, is Christ in me. The only possible way I can tell that story and write that witness is to let the Holy Spirit have His way in my life. Total, unconditional surrender is the only way to write this witness. When I try to write it on my own by good deeds and worthy intentions the story never ends well. I'm proven to be a fraud. My witness doesn't hold up in the court of public opinion.
But when Christ has my heart He writes the story, tells the testimony and provides flawless witness. He doesn't need a pen and paper. He certainly doesn't need a pulpit. He needs my every breath. He needs the moments when no one is looking. He needs my obedience. He needs me to be fully committed to His love and a consistent giver of His grace.
Then I will have a testimony. It won't be one I will ever need to write on paper. It will transcend words. It will endure forever.
So, have you ever stopped and thought about your testimony? Your real testimony - the unspoken testimony of who has your heart.