One of the key lessons we learned on our wilderness journey was how to bear testimony. Bearing testimony as God’s witnesses means that we witness something and then testify about what we have seen. Witness and testimony are words often used in courts of law because of their legal implications. This is true in the spirit as well. God taught us we are to be a witness and bear testimony for God and to God. There is a critical distinction between the two.
Bearing testimony for God
Learning how to bear testimony for God was our first lesson in bearing testimony as God’s witnesses. To do this, we first had to witness His nature and His actions. Our first step was learning how to hear His voice. Sandy Warner and her Quickened Word helped us out tremendously in our early days. Lately, Mark Virkler has taught us even more.
Learning to hear the voice of Jesus is simple enough but has taken a good deal of practice to get right. We need time to learn how to separate His voice from our ‘self’ nature and other spirits. Once we learn how to hear Jesus it is yet another step to obey His commands. Everything Jesus spoke to us, no matter how odd, matched with what was written in His Word. This confirmation helped us find confidence in His voice.
As we learned how to discern His voice, we saw His emotions and character come through His words. Over time, this led us to become more intimate with our Lord. These lessons of what He is like, His thoughts, emotions, character, we would share with others. This is bearing testimony for God. Even though we are still learning more about Jesus, we can still bear testimony of what He is like and what He is saying.
The danger of false testimony
One of the saddest things we see is people bearing testimony about God when they do not know Him. What I mean by that is that they know about Him from what they have learned from others, but they do not know Him personally.
This causes problems because the words of the speaker do not match the actions of their life. As witnesses we realize that only when we live the words we hear from Jesus will we become effective witnesses. Now this mistake happens innocently by those that are still learning about Him. This is normal for new believers and not a problem. We all have misconceptions about God as we mature. As long as we accept correction we will be fine.
The real problem is usually with older believers who become hardened in their wrong ideas about God. When they force their false testimony onto others, it leads to great confusion. God will punish those that do this. They are proud and will not humble themselves. This blocks God’s voice so these people cannot hear God or testify about Him correctly.
God does NOT use people
I can remember clearly the day God sternly told me, “I do NOT ‘use’ people.” He was fed up with people saying. “God ‘used’ so and so to do something.” By warning me, Jesus was letting me know that He works ‘with’ people, and their sovereign will, to achieve His purposes. Jesus does not ‘use’ anyone.
Satan, however, loves to ‘use’ people and frequently overrides their free will through deceit, treachery and bullying. God is not like that. These are the lessons we learn about God as we mature and then bear that testimony to others. If I had not humbled myself and accepted His correction I might be one of those people who incorrectly think God ‘uses’ man. This is but one example of bearing testimony for God.
Bearing testimony to God
A much harder lesson we learned when bearing testimony as God’s witnesses was how to bear testimony to God. This is unlike bearing testimony for Jesus, where we tell people about the God we know personally. Bearing testimony as God’s witnesses first involves witnessing the behavior of people around us; most often in specific situations.
As we observe, we learn. Over time, we see patterns and understand what is at the root of that person, either ‘self’ or ‘spirit.’ This takes a good deal of time, practice and maturity. When we have collected sufficient evidence we are called to bring that testimony back to the Father. In doing this Jesus teaches us about ourselves and the nature of ‘self.’
These were tough assignments because we had to first experience the brutal betrayal of man. Seeing the duplicity, hypocrisy and unfeeling hardness of heart from those who called themselves believers was very hard. The purpose of these lessons was not to break us, but to train us.
God gave us the privilege to be His witnesses. We were honored by the rare opportunity to suffer the same betrayal Jesus did.
By allowing us to experience what He endured helped us to know Him better and what the nature of man is like. Regardless of what people testified about themselves, how they treated us was what we witnessed.
We are not 'good' people
The disconnect between how people saw themselves and how they actually behaved was astonishing. People often think about themselves as being ‘good’ people, but God alone is worthy of that description. As humans, we all fall far short of that bar. When ‘good’ people act out of ‘self’ and cause great pain to others how is that ‘good’? As we take our testimony to God and lay it before Him we see the difference. From there He will judge those people. We do not. Our job is to bear testimony and learn; nothing else.
God knows all things, including how very hypocritical we all are, so we wondered why He wanted us to bear testimony to Him. Our experiences had taught us about humility, self-sacrifice and empathy, but why did we have to bear testimony about others back to Him? The answer is found in Deut. 19:15, Matt. 18:16, 2 Corinthians 13:1 and 1 Tim. 5:19. All these Scriptures point to a simple spiritual principle whereby no judgement can be rendered without 2 or 3 witnesses. This is true on earth as well as in heaven.
For Jesus to render a just judgement against a person He first needs 2 or 3 witnesses to testify about their behavior. We had been trained to be those witnesses so that any judgement God would render against these people would be just and fair.
Our behavior matters to God
There is a delusion in many believers today that how we behave toward others is inconsequential. Many think what really matters is what we do for God or say about God. We desire to dispel that myth.
Our journey led us to many believers. We came to them as destitute and homeless, the least of men, not looking for handouts or help but not wanting to be persecuted. What we saw in their response was appalling. Instead of compassion and love we saw vitriol and anger. It was at these moments that Matthew 25:35-46 became clear. Here we understood the importance of our testimony to God.
The testimony of those who care for the poor
The testimony of those who don't care for the poor
Then He will say to those at His left hand, Begone from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave Me no food. I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me and entertain Me. I was naked and you did not clothe Me. I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me with help and ministering care.
Then they also [in their turn] will answer, Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You? And He will reply to them, Solemnly I declare to you, in so far as you failed to do it for the least [in the estimation of men] of these, you failed to do it for Me.
God will judge us on how we treat the poor
God is serious about judgement. He laid out that Jesus will judge us based on how we treated the poor, the least of men. He is so serious that our family was sent out as destitute and homeless to test the hearts of those who claimed to be following Him. It is this testimony that we bear against them to God. This is an awful duty that must be done. As we witnessed, so shall we testify.
We cannot overemphasize how serious this is to our Father. God will look at how we treated others, especially the needy. The basis of His judgement will be what we did for them, not what we ‘did’ for Him. All of our ‘good’ deeds in the church will not carry an ounce of help if we forget about the weightier matters of helping those in need. If we cannot learn to sacrifice of ourselves to help those in need, then we will have a hard time when judgement comes.
Our final testimony
We plead with you, with tears in our eyes, don’t let us have to testify about you before God with negative words. While we are bearing testimony as God’s witnesses let us see your love and sacrifice coming right from Jesus. Let us say that you gave of yourself, that you cared and poured out your heart to help those who needed your help. Let us rejoice with you as you receive a reward of blessing because you first blessed others. Don’t let your reward pass you by.
We are waiting just around the corner for you. God will bring us to you and we wait for that cup of cold water from your hand. Give freely of yourself. Give abundantly and you will nurture your own soul. Then, and only then, will we rejoice in our testimony.
Homer and Wanda