November 7, 2018
“He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross” (Ezekiel 47:5, NIV 1984).
I awoke Monday morning planning within the week to teach a Bible study on our personal testimony for Christ. As I stood in front of the mirror, shaving, I realized what a poor witness for Christ I have been, at least in words. So, for the entire week, when I was with my patients, I intentionally listened for the Holy Spirit, asking Him that I might bring up the name of Jesus at least once. Though God has used me for personal witness in the past, He did not this week in words that I could recognize, or else, I chose not to hear Him.
Our witness for Christ is like a three-legged stool. One leg is the message of the gospel: the story of God and His people, the story of the cross and the empty tomb. The second leg is the life we live that demonstrates the sacrificial love of Jesus, the life we can live only because Christ lives within us. The third leg is our personal story: the times in our lives where we have encountered the living God and enjoyed the power, peace, light and love He brings: “There was this time in my life when I needed God and He was there….” All three legs are important as we introduce others to the Christ who gives us life. All three are real and true in my life, and yet, at times it seems so awkward and inappropriate to bring the witness of words into my daily encounters. And so it goes with much of my faith-life.
So much of the time, my life of faith seems like a huge lake restrained by a dam of my making, a lake of deep waters that represent who I really am in Christ: dedicated, sacrificial, evangelistic. But then, there is this dam in the way. The life of faith I actually live is the small stream that flows from the base of a dam, one that I have built over a lifetime with stones of greed, stones of pride, stones of envy, stones of self-fulfillment…piled high, holding back my full life in Christ—and I can’t open the flood gates. I chip at little dam stones furiously, as if that chipping will let the river through.
Dear God, what must I do to bust it open and let the river of Christ-in-me flow into the world?
And do I even know what I am asking? Do I really trust you, Lord, with the flood that follows, the rushing waters of your redemptive purpose, waters that might sweep away a life I have grown accustomed to beside this little stream?
Bust the dam and let the Christ in me flow recklessly into your world.