Jesus Has Your Back
Greetings Narrow Gate,
Well I just had my annual check up. I like my doctor, she's a PA. She's nice, seems genuinely concerned about me, and quick and efficient. I like her. But I do not like going to see her. I am a bad patient. I listen, do what I should minimally to keep her off my back, then I do what I want to. After my car wreck, I told the nurses, and my wife, I was not going to stay in the hospital more than 1 night, and I did exactly that. I'm stubborn.
Me being a bad patient though, would not change my testimony about my doctor or Atrium NorthEast. I would recommend both highly to anyone in need of a doctor or a hospital. Even though I am not a perfect patient. I am blessed that they are my health care providers.
I am not perfect either. But just because I'm not perfect doesn't mean I can't encourage someone to put their faith in Jesus Christ. In fact, the idea that Jesus would love and care for me, a sinner, should encourage others to trust in Jesus even more. Cause guess what? Shhh, they're not perfect either.
Say this out loud, "I'm not perfect". Did you say it? Say it. Can you say it? Some of us struggle with saying this. I struggled with saying this a long time ago. If you can say this, sincerely, "I'm not perfect", this is a freeing experience. Because if you think you are perfect, you are the only one thinking it. Get it? I hope you do.
Today we will continue on in our scripture search for inspiring testimonies. We will begin in Psalm 51. King David had sinned in a mighty way. He really screwed up. Not only did he have an illicit affair with Bathsheba, but he also arranged the death of her righteous and loyal husband and soldier, Uriah the Hittite.
David knows he did wrong. In fact, he planned and coordinated this sinful union with Bathsheba. He can't deny it, it's that obvious.
Now, I'm not perfect. We have established this already. But this is very bad for David. He was a rocking King. God loved him, the people loved him, things were going well. But this is more than a poor quick decision. This was a carefully orchestrated plan for David to sin. So, Let's listen to a sinner's testimony about God and his forgiveness. Psalm 51:1-12,
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts (heart, conscience, and mind); you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (small s, meaning David's spirit). Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
This is a wonderful prayer for forgiveness. I wonder how many millions of people over the years have prayed this prayer of David's after they royally screwed up in their lives. Do you now understand why its not necessary for us to be perfect when we testify? Do you feel the power in David's prayer and the sincerity in his words, but also his intimacy with the Father?
Testimonies need to be real. This testimony of David's is as real as it gets. Posing as perfect Christians will ultimately be exposed as a sham. Besides, what is more relatable to sinners? A forgiven sinner's testimony or a perfect Christian's testimony?
If you have sinned greatly in your life, hearing David's prayer, understanding his testimony, you know that you too, can be forgiven. Isn't that a message that we all need to hear? I believe it is!
Our next testimony comes from Mark. However, Christ is doing the speaking. Whose testimony is this? It's Mark's because he was there as an eyewitness to Jesus himself. Mark, like anyone who testifies, does not need to be God. He just needs to tell us what Jesus said. Maybe what he saw Jesus do. If I'm testifying about the ER staff at Atrium, I don't need to be an ER nurse to tell you that Atrium's ER nurses are awesome. I just need to tell you what I saw, heard and experienced personally. Mark 8:31-38,
"He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. 'Get behind me, Satan!' he said. 'You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.' Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: 'If anyone would come after me, they must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and the gospel will save it. What good is it for a person to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can an individual give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when they come in his Father's glory with the holy angels."'
This is Mark's eyewitness testimony of Jesus and his interaction with his disciples. It is proof that Jesus did indeed foretell of his coming death. It is also a motivating message for all believers to testify about Jesus himself. Jesus is telling us that he's got our backs if we have his.
If we are not ashamed of Jesus, he will not be ashamed of us when we are in his Father's glory with the holy angels.
Knowing that Jesus has my back is everything to me. Because Jesus having my back means that I'm good with him. That's assurance in church speak. I'm forgiven and have eternal life, in heaven. Keeping it real, not to insult me in any way, but I do get more out of this deal than Jesus does. We all do! So, I am more than willing to lose my life for Jesus and the sake of the gospel. That's my testimony. What's yours?
Think about this. This is important, for all believers need to have their priority list for living. We never know when events will take hold of our lives and force quick decisions and choices. We have had a pretty cushy existence for the last sixty years or so. It may not always be this way. Think of this last week or so. It's not a bad thing to think about God and know where you stand. Persecution seems to be making its way back into our society. If it is, persecution of Christians won't be far behind.
Remember this, God loves you. He's always ready to forgive you for your sins, but like David, you have to bring up the subject and admit your guilt. If you do, and you place your faith in Jesus, he will always have your back.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC