You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
- Isaiah 26:3
It is a day of sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”
- Leviticus 23:32
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
- Luke 9:23-26
“You have an ego—a consciousness of being an individual. Of course, you do. But that doesn’t mean that you are to worship yourself, to think constantly of yourself, and to live entirely for yourself. Common sense tells you that your life would be miserable if you followed that course. God is infinitely more concerned about your happiness than you could possibly be. He says, ‘Deny yourself, and follow me.’ There is many a person in the insane asylum today who thought excessively about himself, to the exclusion of God and others. Hypochondriacs who have a fanciful anxiety about their health will never be well, regardless of their physical condition.”
- Billy Graham, Day by Day with Billy Graham (Devotion for May 1)
I have heard people complain about someone’s personal testimony like this. “They talked about themselves too much.”
Ummm. It is a personal testimony. It’s hard to talk about what you were like before Jesus came into your heart, to tell about how Jesus got your attention and you accepted Him, and to tell about how Jesus changed your life after you were saved without talking about yourself.
But there are various ways of doing that without saying “me, me, me” so much and saying “He, He, He” a bit more.
After all, while you are telling a personal story, the story is really about Jesus.
Tim Hawkins jokes about people who have boring testimonies. One of the quips is “He has a great testimony. I wish I was hooked on crack cocaine.” No, you don’t wish that, although Hawkins makes the line sound funny. And the truth is that a lot of those people sitting in the church that are simply going through the motions would never touch cocaine and your boring testimony might be the one that they need to hear.
But the moment that Jesus gets you to turn around, deny yourself, and follow Him… Forget boring! The angels in Heaven are singing. How can that ever be boring when an insignificant mixture of bones, muscles, and brains but has an eternal soul gets a bunch of angels so excited that they sing for joy. That is not boring at all.
But, make sure the telling is about what you were like before JESUS, how JESUS came into your life, and how has JESUS changed you.
In that last sentence, Jesus is mentioned as often as “you,” but my dear sister is a speech therapist (retired) and she says, “Often, our biggest mistake is that we put too much em-PHAS-sis on the wrong syl-LAB-ble.” (For clarification for those whose English is a second or third language, emphasis on the wrong syllable – just illustrated by doing so.)
Let’s keep the emphasis on Jesus even when we talk about how Jesus changed our lives forever.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.