Testimony is a powerful thing. From it flows indisputable evidence of the
truth of God- real and relevant. Not only does the word of our testimony express
the wonderful works of God on our behalf, but also His willingness to pour out the
same overflow of goodness and grace to the hearer.
The beginning of my testimony occurred in the chill of a winter night in
January 1994. Up until that time, misery accompanied me every moment of every
day. Sometimes I hid it well, sometimes I didn’t. Under the sway of drugs and
alcohol, I wrestled with depression, heard voices and considered suicide on more
than one occasion. However, on that night God met me at the place of my
weakness and brought transformation unlike anything I could have imagined.
Everything was new in a moment.
For the first eight months, there was richness to life which was, and still is,
difficult to describe. I felt innocent. I felt clean. Every day offered the fantastic
opportunity to know God and experience His love.
What I soon discovered was that not everyone who bears His name bears His
image. In my zeal, I was hungry to know more about God. So, when I
encountered a group of people who seemed to have more knowledge and insight
than anyone I had heard or met up until that point, it was very appealing. As I
began to take steps and draw deeper into this group, I could feel something
changing within. Until that time, I was flooded with peace and joy. But, soon I
found it waning and didn’t understand why; at least that is what I told myself.
The truth is, God was showing me, warning me, about the path I had set
myself on. In my inexperience, or pride, I could not reconcile the remarkable
knowledge I found in my new brethren, with the awful drying of my soul. For the
first few weeks there was turmoil, a battle within me as to what path I would
follow. Then, I found myself in a moment where I had to make a choice. Though
I knew something wasn’t right, I ignored the beckoning of God and chose to listen
to man. It was a terrible mistake.
The group I joined was somewhat of a cult. It centered around one man who
represented himself as God’s final authority and everyone fell in line behind him.
Over the next two years I found myself in an extremely toxic, oppressive,
unhealthy environment which almost destroyed me.
Eventually, the group disintegrated, but the damage was done. For the next
seven years or so, my walk with God was severely hindered. Looking back, I
know it was His grace which sustained me through a period which was a far cry
from the beautiful existence I knew with God in the beginning. Though I was no
longer in the cult, the cult was still in me.
My heart was hardened against much of Christianity. As a result, I found it
challenging to connect with other believers. Furthermore, my way of thinking was
so entrenched in the twisted view of God I had learned that it made it difficult to
receive from anyone. All I heard preached or spoken about Jesus was processed
through a hardened, critical heart which rejected just about everything.
After a few years, and a tremendous amount of ministry from The Holy
Spirit, my heart began to open up again. While things were better at times, there
was still turmoil. There was little stability, which caused me to struggle with sin
and even issues of serious doubt on a couple of occasions. Through it all, The
Holy Spirit continued to rebuild, restore and reshape my heart.
As I emerged from this dark period, I found myself back at the same
dilemma which led me astray to begin with. There were many people saying many
things about God. Each of them had a platform of doctrine. Many of them
claimed to have a foothold on the “new” move of God. It was confusing and
somewhat frustrating trying to weed through all the self-proclamation. Just as with
the cult, there were the same challenges to the vibrant walk with God I
remembered, and so desperately longed for. But, this time was different.
A valuable lesson had been given to me. In the midst of the noise and chaos,
when things are unclear as to the truth, look to God and not man. That’s exactly
what I did. I wanted to know what was real. In this place of seeking and trying to
discern what was God, I began to ask Him to give me clarity. Within this chorus
of voices proclaiming their message, and these huge personalities promoting their
movement, where do I find you?
The answer came one night in a dream. In the dream, I was lying on a bed,
in a place of rest. While lying there, Jesus walked up beside me. While I did not
see Him, I knew He was there. What He said to me totally transformed and healed
all the madness and mess within me. What He said was this, “The message you
will preach is Christ in you.”
I awoke with such clarity and and excitement in my heart. There was no
doubt in my mind this was the heart of what God was speaking in the Earth. The
problem was, I had no idea what it meant. What I did have was direction.
The first place God took me in the scriptures was Colossians 1:27-28 which
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery
among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach,
warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present
every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Paul makes a remarkable statement concerning the mystery which had been
hidden for ages and generations; a mystery now meant to be known by all people.
In this, the profound will of God is made clear. The great mystery, and marvelous
accomplishment which God had intended for us throughout time, even before the
foundation of the world, was that Christ should live in us.
As I continued to search I found it everywhere. It was the ultimate purpose
for which Jesus died, the central theme detailed not only within the New
Testament, but the entirety of scripture. In this is revealed God’s ultimate intent
toward man. His sacrifice was not simply so we could receive forgiveness of sins,
though it certainly includes that. Neither is His purpose for us to just hang on until
we get to heaven. Through His death, burial and resurrection Jesus Christ has
made it possible for the God of the universe to dwell in and inhabit His people in
What that means for us, at least in part, is that the fullness of who He is now
dwells within. One with God, we may now know Him intimately and personally.
Within oneness, the person of Christ living in me expresses Himself through and in
my nature and existence. That being the case, I am empowered to live out this life
in the body through the faith, peace, joy, power and presence of God almighty-
because we are wholly and intimately one.
So much more could be explained. In fact, it feels far too brief to only
mention it in a few sentences. Within this once hidden mystery is a breadth of
discovery that can be spoken of and joyfully explored in endless pages. The more
it is perceived, the more it expands into a beautiful, complex tapestry revealing the
wealth of Heaven.