Testimony is powerful. In fact, not one of us is here in faith believing Jesus is all He claimed to be without the power of testimony. Jesus himself prayed to God in His final days on earth saying,
“I am not praying for these alone but also for future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these.” ~ John 17:20 tlb
Jesus was referring to the disciples in John 17. Each of the disciples testimonies of Jesus overcoming in their life were shared with their friends, family, and neighbors. Some of the people hearing came to belief in what Jesus did for them. Others began to believe in Him more deeply than they did before.
Through the disciples testimony, all of the listeners were empowered to believe with a greater revelation of God’s character and heart. Those who believed in Jesus were set free from death and the lies death produces. Then they in turn took the goodness of God they experienced and shared His goodness with someone else.
This beautiful cycle of testimony plays out age after age, generation after generation, until finally you and I heard of God’s goodness in our time and believed. Now here we are today. We each hold stories. We have testimonies of Jesus that must be retold. Someone near you needs to know God was your deliverer so they too can receive deliverance. Someone needs to hear how God was your healer so they too can see and know God as their healer too.
Don’t be duped into competition or comparison
Testimonies are meant to inspire not illicit jealousy for what someone has that we don’t or shame us because we aren’t experiencing the same level of breakthrough others have. Instead, we can listen to someones account of God’s love and mercy displayed in their life and take it in as our story too. We are invited to become inspired, to allow the journey of others to become our own, and to find the unity in the Father that Jesus prayed for us when He said…
“My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father — that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me — the glorious unity of being one, as we are — I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one — so that the world will know you sent me and will understand that you love them as you love me.” ~ John 17:21-23 tlb
Where the enemy plans and plots out our division through comparison and competition, God presents opportunity for upgrades and impartation. Sometimes listening to someone’s story can create feelings of regret over the way our own journey has gone. Jealousy for what others have experienced that we have not might come to the surface. Listening may open a door to sadness and questioning God’s love for us. We may wonder, “Why haven’t I experienced that kind of glory, gifting, or tangible love of the Father?” We may erroneously conclude that we aren’t favored or special enough.
Hearing is an opportunity for upgrade
God allows us to hear these stories to open our spiritual eyes and ears, to see and hear Him differently or deeper than before, and to know His ways and His kingdom business at new levels. His aim is not for us to feel discouraged and think, “Why bother?” His aim is to stir hunger in us for more…more of Him and more of His kingdom on earth.
God’s goal is not for us to dismiss the relevance or impact of someone’s journey either. He longs for a company of people who cheer each other on. He scans the earth in search of sons and daughters who live looking to make their ceiling the next person’s floor. He aches for children who value and respect each God encounter someone braves to share.
What if we value so highly each others journey that we rejoiced in all kingdom moments, tiny or big? What if we celebrated them regardless of whether those encounters seem small and insignificant compared to what we personally have experienced or if they seem unreachable in our lifetime and too fantastic to ever really hope to see happen to us? I believe that is God’s heart. Celebration, genuine heart felt excitement, over the modest and gargantuan moments with God in someone’s life, help us step closer to living John 17 unity.
Share your story
Do you remember a time when you let a competitive spirit rob you of an upgrade? Ask God to help you forgive yourself and move towards blessing what He was doing in the other person’s life.
Has someone ever diminished your own victorious hallmark moment because of jealousy? If you haven’t already, ask Holy Spirit to help you extend them grace and forgiveness. Can you already see ways that experience has made you more able to celebrate others when they are receiving breakthrough and you are not?
What other lessons have you learned through hearing other people share their testimony? What upgrades have you received from God through listening to other peoples journeys with Christ? I’d love to hear more. Share your growth moments with me below.