When I mentioned in The Call that I should probably share my testimony of faith sometime, Heather at Graced by Christ mentioned her new Friday feature on faith and said that this Friday she was asking people to share their testimonies and link so that others could read them.
I thought that this was perfect timing, and as I continue my study of Romans, Paul is writing about the power of the gospel for salvation in Romans 1:16-17.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for everyone who believes: first for the Jew, and then for the Gentile. For in the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written, "The righteous will live by faith."Righteous simply means a rightness before God--being able to stand unashamed because of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross.
As we were studying Romans, my Bible teacher reminded us, "My testimony is not what I have done for God, but what God has done for me." Amen to that. I am righteous, but not because of my own goodness, or even my lack of sin, or my abundance of good works, but because of the righteousness that God revealed, through his son Jesus. Romans 10:3 - 4 explains this,
Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.When I was growing up, I attended church sporadically, but almost always when we visited my grandmother who was more devout. I didn't have a large knowledge of the Bible growing up, but even still I remember knowing that there was a God, and praying to Him, knowing also, I guess, that He wants to hear my prayers (which is the start of a relationship). By the time I was in junior high school, we began regularly attending a church. As a part of a confirmation class, I took some classes and began learning more about the Bible and Jesus. I joined the church, and was baptized with a sprinkle at age 13. Although I was learning more about Jesus, I wasn't following him personally. There was no relationship, no lordship which would have brought about change in my actions or thought processes (the "living by faith" mentioned in verse 17, or the "obedience that comes from faith" from verse 5).
In college, I met a dear friend, whose faith shone. It was practical, it was real, and it was uncompromising. I began attending her church's college group, RUF, and it was there that I began to hear about the choice involved in following Jesus. We must choose to align our ways of thinking with his. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Sometime during my freshman year, my transformation began to take place. It was still a process. There was still no flash of a lightbulb or giant a-ha. It just seemed as if all the pieces that God orchestrated were finally falling into place. By my junior year, I was more solidly entrenched in God's ways, yet still living in sin in other areas.
I ended up attending a Baptist church with my husband-to-be (although that wasn't firmly decided at the time). When I joined the Baptist church, I had a hard time with "having" to be baptized by immersion. I understood the reason that the Baptist's desired a Believer's baptism, as opposed to an infant baptism (although I think that there is scriptural support for doing it both ways, for different reasons), but I struggled with that pridefully. I thought that I entered into my faith relationship when I was confirmed and sprinkled, but it has only been in the last five or six years when I really thought about my testimony that I realize that my true relationship began much later--around nineteen or so.
I also firmly believe that my testimony is ongoing. Ongoing about God's work in my life. He has guided me through rough times, He has been my peace, He has been my shepherd, leading me places I never thought I'd go (physically as well as in service). It's not about me. It's about Him. I am thankful for the gift of salvation that He offered to all of us in His son Jesus, and I am thankful that I didn't let pride get in the way of me accepting it. I'm glad that I didn't have to wait until I was completely on the right path to let Him in. I always think of it as a path or a journey--steps towards something--but what is interesting is that in regards to me being accepted by God--it's immediate. I am righteous, because Jesus has put an end to that law (having to try to live without sin). Thank you, Lord, for that perfect provision. . . .
Next in the series: Romans: Nature
This week I've also seen Lauren's idea to have a blog tour of testimonies on October 1. You can post and link that day, or if you have previously published one on your blog, you can link to an old post. Regarding her Friday feature, Heather explains specifically what your testimony is and why you should write it out if you never have.
Let's not be ashamed. If you haven't told the story of God's work in you, please do.
Index of Romans posts