“He….encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.” Acts 11:23
There’s No Testimony Without The Test!
I had never seen it before. It was a piece of wood about 36 inches long, 4 inches high and one half inch thick. It was sitting on a shelf in a Christian Book Store on the eastern side of our state where we had gone for a brief getaway after the Christmas holidays. Ann and I enjoy visiting unique shops and this one contained several quaint items, most of which we had seen before. But there sat this one piece of wood, really not so unique in itself, but the saying inscribed on it was what caught my attention – “There Can Be No Testimony Without The Test!”
Now there were many other beautiful plaques and sayings strewn through the store but this is the only one that really grabbed my attention. While Ann was meandering here and there, I spent several moments contemplating the true meaning of that statement. Memories began to flow of times I had failed the “test” and how it affected my testimony. I also thought of times when I think that I had passed the “test,” but only because of His multiplied grace. In reality, once you become a believer in Jesus Christ, life becomes a potpourri of trials, And how we respond to these tests will determine the effect of our testimony for Christ.
In Hebrews 11:5, it is said of Enoch that, “Before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” My, what a testimony – he pleased God! This is where the testimony must begin. If we please God then our testimony before men may not always be applauded but it will be undeniable. It may be opposed but it cannot be denounced. Because Enoch had a testimony he also had many tests. Jude 14-15 state that he preached hard against the wickedness and unrighteousness of his day. That had to cause some tests for him! But it only strengthened him in His walk with the Lord. So much so that one day when he went out to preach Genesis 5:24 says that “He was not, for God took him.” Not only did he have a good testimony before he was translated, but can you imagine what others must have thought about his testimony after he was translated?
Sometimes God chooses to shape our testimony through tough times. This was the primary impression that occupied my thinking when I first eyed the wording, “There Can Be No Test Without The Testimony.”In Psalm 105; 17-19 we have an interesting example of this truth:
“He sent a man before them–Joseph–who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters, He was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, the Word of the Lord tested him. The king sent and released him, The ruler of the people let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions, to bind his princes at his pleasure, and teach his elders wisdom.”
Trials, like pain, feel so good, not when we are going through them, but when they are over! What a memorable day it was when Joseph’s irons fell from his feet! That in itself was a blessing, but then to be elevated to the high seat of lord over the King’s house! Amazing! God loves to test us to see if we are worthy of a testimony pleasing to Him, and worthy of serving Him in perplexing places.
That winter day in that little Christian Book Store I debated whether or not to purchase that unique piece of wood bearing that thought provoking statement. Two things hindered me from making a decision: price and place! It would be much less expensive to type the saying on a little piece of paper (I had done that a number of times before!) and much less troublesome than trying to find a place for it in my already cluttered office. So I went back to our motel room empty-handed. But the thought continued to race through my mind, bringing back other memories of times that I had been tested in my walk with Christ. I couldn’t resist, the next day I returned, paid full price, and today if you visit my humble little office in the lower level of our home, you would find that unique piece of wood with that thought provoking statement hanging on the wall behind my desk. Daily, when tempted and tested beyond the limits of my resources, but not God’s grace and provision, I am reminded that “There’s No Testimony Without the Test.” Today, I encourage you to thank God for the tests that may come your way – for like Enoch of old, God is shaping a “Testimony” that will be pleasing to Him. Like Joseph, he may even be in the process of removing the fetters from your feet and catapulting you into unimaginable opportunities for service. But one thing for sure, “There’s No Testimony Without The Test!”
Maynard H. Belt
Mich. Assoc. of Regular Baptist Churches