Testimony

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

states,

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

perfect harmony.

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.