1 John 5:9-13 :: New International Version (NIV)
9We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Recently before going to bed I happened to read these scriptures and verse 10 really hit me as so often happens in my scriptural meditations. My experience is that something fresh is always waiting there to "grab me" as I open my heart to the Holy Spirit. The phrase "has this testimony in his heart" is what really spoke to my heart. The testimony that I share with others and which really continually changes my own life and those of others that I touch is not something in a book or something of the human intellect. It is something of the heart! So for myself, all of the theological debates, discussions, books, etc., that could be spoken are not in and of themselves sufficient. There has to be a testimony in my heart to settle all matters of discussion. People debate endlessly and most of the time in futility about various interpretations of theology. Sometimes this changes opinions but rarely even that much is accomplished.
What is the great power that changes lives? What is the power of the God unto salvation that Paul speaks of in Romans 1:16, 17? Is it certain information about passages of scripture? Yes, information must be imparted. The Word of God must be preached and shared, but until a person opens his heart to the Holy Spirit to have "this testimony in his heart" nothing transformational will really happen. Somewhere along the line the Word of God must penetrate the heart and thus create a personal testimony that will utterly change a person, not just once but everday!
The bottom line of everything for me regarding my own walk with Jesus is the testimony of my heart that Jesus is indeed the Christ, that He is an all-sufficient Savior in all areas of my life, that he imparts the Holy Spirit to empower me for all the challenges of life, and that He lives! None of the other world religions can offer a living Savior. I don't feel that I need anymore defense of my faith than that testimony.
Having said this, I'm more than glad to acknowledge that people get a lot of help from secular psychology, self-help programs, other world religions, sociology, etc. I'm speaking here of the testimony of my heart and I see no need whatsoever to downgrade anything that brings help to people in any area of their lives. My testimony of the reality of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and what it has done and is doing in my life is what I desire to share but at the time same without heaping any "fire and brimstone" upon other ways that people receive help.
Written by Tom Durst of Spokane WA