A Living testimony

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I say be guided by the Spirit and you won’t carry out your selfish desires. A person’s selfish desires are set against the Spirit, and the Spirit is set against one’s selfish desires. They are opposed to each other, so you shouldn’t do whatever you want to do. But if you are being led by the Spirit, you aren’t under the Law… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified self with its passions and its desires. If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit. Let’s not become arrogant, make each other angry, or be jealous of each other. ~Gal 5:16-18, 22-26 (CEB)

One of the most intimidating things to me as a child was witnessing about God. Growing up in church we were taught this was important work for God. Wondering where and how to bring God up in my conversations and how to convince others of the need of God’s presence in their life was overwhelming.

As an adult I still find myself overwhelmed with the thought of giving my “testimony”, sharing how God has worked in my life to others. Henri Nouwen in his book The Wounded Healer says, “The way God’s Spirit manifests itself most convincingly is through its fruits:  “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22).  These fruits speak for themselves.  It is therefore always better to raise the question ‘How can I grow in the Spirit?’  then the question  ‘How can I make others believe in the Spirit?’” By allowing the fruits of the Spirit to work through my life and shine out to others, I can serve God as a living example.

Verse 24 says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified self with its passions and its desires.” When I am ruled by my “self” it is hard for the fruit of the Spirit to shine through to others. I find myself becoming arrogant, jealous and angry. When I live by the Spirit it is easier to show love to others; joy despite present circumstances; peace that passes all understanding; kindness even when I am not shown it in return, goodness even when it’s not the easiest path; trustfulness in all circumstances; gentleness instead of forcing my ideas; and self-control even when I am afraid.

When “self” is at the center of my daily life I cannot be a good testament to the love and good works of God. Only when I die to “self” and am lead by the Holy Spirit can I begin to live the example that shows that God is alive and at work in me. By living differently than the world lives, I invite others to wonder and sometimes ask what is different in my life. Thus doors are opened for conversation without my forcing my way in.

Lord, I thank You for Your Spirit that lives in me. May I ever be listening to its promptings and allowing the gifts of the Spirit to work in me and shine though me as a beacon to others that leads to You. Amen.

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