God’s way is to let his people drive

Devotional thoughts for May 2021

(Click here to read Monday Musings ... where I discuss the thinking that led to this article.)

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story — those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord. (Psalm 107 selected)

A Christian’s testimony has two parts. First, we need to tell people how it is that we got saved. We all had a journey before we finally gave in to the Father’s drawing (John 6:44) and received Christ as Savior (John 1:12). This is a critical — but a decidedly sad part of our stories. No one likes to be a failure… but the nature of salvation is that only failures can be saved.

The second part of our testimony is more upbeat: we need to tell people how God has worked in our lives after we’ve been born again. We have an Old Testament analog for this in the nation Israel. Today’s verses from Psalm 107 were written to them — to the Old Testament Jews.

The nation Israel was called “God’s people” many centuries before Christians were called that. In the Old Testament, God revealed himself as a Father to the Jews, and Scripture shows that he was adept at teaching. This is why the Bible is so full of the stories of Israel’s successes and failures. God wanted to show us that we human beings were in the driver’s seat… even while under the care of a beneficent God who had already made promises to them about the Promised Land.

This principle hasn’t changed in the Age of Grace. We too have had successes and failures while under the care of a beneficent God. What adds an edge to today’s experience is that our fellow humans are also watching us. The “hypocrite police” are everywhere. They are watching us — we who name the name of Christ — and are waiting to put our heads on their chopping blocks.

This is why God wants us to become more like Christ (Romans 8:29). That’s the engine that should be driving our testimonies… although, I don’t mind telling you that meeting the standards Christ set for us in this age is no small task. But that’s the job…  and it’s full-time.

Today’s Scripture is addressed to “the redeemed of the Lord,” so it applies to all the redeemed… to the Old Testament Jews and the New Testament Christians alike. We are all supposed to tell our fellow human beings how God has redeemed us and how he is working in our lives.

But we can’t do that unless we “live” our stories first — and life is messy — and parts of our stories won’t be pretty. And since we’re not inclined to share our defeats, we might not tell our stories — even though they give glory to God!

I get it. It’s embarrassing to fail and share the story of those failures! But if we learn from our experiences and confess our sins, God will restore us to fellowship (1 John 1:5-7) .… and our failures will redound to his glory in the end (1 Corinthians 10:31). So, let’s start sharing how the good news has worked in us. We have nothing to lose but our pride.

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20210426 God’s way is to let us drive).

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