‘Purposing Change’ Meditations: 15. Power of Testimony
Jn 9:25 “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
Testimonies are tricky. I’ve seen Christians drop them in places where the listener(s) were just not ready and so in such cases it really was a case of ‘pearls before swine’ (Mt 7:6). Intriguingly that verse follows a warning about specks and planks in eyes which is also worth thinking about – never brow-beat the person with their failings; they are probably fully aware of then so don’t need you to hit them with such observations. Just worry about sorting out your own!
I wonder if you see the armoury available: a) criticism (only when asked for and really in love [Eph 4:15] with gentleness), then b) confession of own failings (vulnerability, Adrian Plass showed us, is a door-opener), and c) testimony (prepared by used as the Spirit opens the way). Think on each one.
So let’s focus on testimony. The blind man who Jesus healed, presents the clearest testimony possible. It stands out like a beacon in scripture, but it also reminds us of a key truth: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel.” I just sense we need a reminder that to overcome this blindness we need a miracle, we need God to do for our loved ones etc., what only He can do. That drives us back to prayer. We need Him to move.
Unless there is an openness and the Spirit is leading, as the story of the blind man healed in Jn 9 shows even a patently obvious testimony of something wonderful done by Jesus, can be rejected by the hard of heart. Pharaoh’s hard heart was blind to the hand of God through Moses moving against him. The scribes and Pharisees and priests were blind to the wonder of Jesus and what he was doing. The answer is concerted, consistent, steadfast prayer preparing the way, softening the heart and setting up the situation.
Dare you risk a conversation that faces their faith and their absence of it, and asks, “Just supposing the Jesus I believe in is real and can change us, what would you like him to change in either of us”? And then hold your breath and pray.
The thing about simple testimony is how powerful it can be. The blind man’s “I was blind but now I see!” is awesome in its simplicity and if it wasn’t for the hard hearts of the listeners it would have been life changing. There is something about testimonies that is incredibly powerful. One Christian leader wrote, “I began to notice that the weightiness of God’s presence was sometimes released during a testimony.” i.e. as someone testified there almost came into the room the tangible presence of God. Jesus said, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father —the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.” (Jn 15:26) When it comes to our testimonies, I believe when the Holy Spirit hears us testifying and speaking the truth about what Jesus has done, it is as if He goes, “Yes, that’s right, that is true!” and impacts the listeners with that. Awesome!
When people hear a testimony and respond inside, “I want that” it opens the way for God to move in them, sometimes bringing salvation, sometimes healing. That is the power of Spirit-led testimony at the right time. Have you ever sat down and quietly thought, why am I a Christian? What happened and when? How have I experienced God since then? What does He mean to me now? When you get answers to these questions you will be preparing the ingredients of a testimony you can use one of these days as the Lord opens the way and the heart of your loved one. One final thing. Leave the outcome to Him. If you get a positive response, excellent. If you get a negative response, leave it to God to convict them over that response. It is amazing how He can quietly creep up on them, so to speak, and help them feel bad about how they responded. And if they come back and apologise, don’t leap into battle but ask the Lord to give you something gracious to say, perhaps like, “Thank you. I’m sorry if I made you defensive but Jesus is so wonderful and I know he loves us both,” and then leave it. Let Him bring the conviction that is needed as a prerequisite for repentance.