Well, I’m progressing through the final chapters of Acts. Paul knows his time is short. Yet, with such deliberateness and passion, he shares his testimony each time without deviation. I think what has really struck me with Paul in these chapters is that he stuck to his testimony; who he was apart from Christ, who he became after his encounter with Christ, and what he was called to do.
I realized in these chapters it is hard for one to argue with a testimony and, in Christ, our testimony will roll off our lips at a moments notice because it is ours that the Lord has written on our hearts. The testimony might be hated but it cannot be refuted. Even King Agrippa who shouted, "Paul you have gone mad," was actually close to being persuaded to become a Christian.
It is so powerful to realize that the greatest gospel message we have is the personal gospel. Paul never handed out tracts; he spoke. He repeated his testimony over and over again! He sometimes added a bit more of it depending on his audience - but it was the message God gave to him! Paul cultivated and nourished his testimony by being in continuous relationship with Christ.
I know for me, the lens with which I view the culture and even the Word is directly linked to what has been engraved on my heart by the Lord. The Word bolsters my testimony, the Word expands my testimony as I experience Him daily. The Word gives me confidence to speak it in boldness knowing it is true and real! The Word keeps my testimony from eroding or getting watered down. Only by the Word can we be fearless with a testimony. But I soberly realized today that a testimony can easily become a tragic story of loss, waywardness, or unrecognizable-ness, if it is not nourished and cultivated and expanded by the LIVING AND OPERATIVE Word of God!
One great experience of God- even the salvation experience- will not hold solid if not fed. Unfortunately I also know that it won’t just sort of sit in neutral! It must be daily fueled by the right oil. Otherwise the enemy comes in like brake fluid to burn up our little engine of the gospel and we wonder why we feel dead inside! Oil of the Word fuels the gospel message of our life. It must daily or I will spiritually die.
The apostle Paul left this earth ‘alive and well’. I want to do the same!