And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:10
My story of faith begins at an early age. I was seven when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, and I don’t remember as much about the “experience” as I wish I did. It was during a revival, and I remember feeling like I needed to go forward, but I was a shy child and was embarrassed to go up in front of everyone, so I didn’t make my profession of faith until the next night. But I don’t really remember much else.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
That actually troubled me later in life. I went to a Christian college, and so many people had these passionate testimonies of coming to the Lord at an older age. They knew a precise moment that the Lord changed them, and there were visible differences between their old and new life, major sins that they had overcome.
But how can there be a visible difference when you’re seven? I didn’t have a chance to have such a drastic change in my life. For a time, it worried me.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
However, my time in college was also a time of significant spiritual growth, and because of that, I learned that just because you were saved at an early age, or just because you don’t have a dramatic story about how the Lord saved you during a particularly difficult time in your life or out of a specific sinful pattern in your life, doesn’t mean that your testimony is of lesser value.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:57-58
I finally started to meet people who had testimonies similar to mine: salvation at an early age, and a life of less-than-dramatic obedience to parents, and ultimately to God. Not a lot of crazy stories, and not a single point that was a huge turnaround in life. And I started to find the beauty in these testimonies.
The testimonies of God’s grace to save someone who has made many mistakes, the stories where there is a huge turnaround in someone’s life, can reach and encourage us all, especially those who are struggling with similar battles. But the testimonies of those of us who were saved at a young age are testimonies of the Lord’s faithfulness to see us through, and can give hope to all Christians about the faithfulness of God to his children.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 1 Peter 1:3-5
My testimony is one of valleys and mountaintops; I can see how the Lord protected me through the years, whether I was being the most faithful servant that I could be or not. I can see his hand protecting his lamb at every turn; from my parent’s decisions for my life, from my classes in school, from the friends I made and the potential friends who He protected me from. I can see how He was faithful to keep me, even if I was just going through the motions. I can see how my obedience to Him kept me from the things, people, events and relationships that would have harmed me, even during times that my relationship to God was not particularly close either.
My testimony is one of valleys and mountaintops. There have been times that I have felt close to Him because of intense study of the Word and prayer. And there have been many times that I have felt close to Him because I looked back on the past and saw the work He had done in my life when I didn’t even realize it, at times when I didn’t care as much as I should have.
Even during the times when I was not as faithful to the Lord, I can still testify of His faithfulness to me. There have been many relationships and friendships that I pursued that He did not allow to flourish, and at a time in my life that I could have truly fallen away, He placed a church in my life that provided the encouragement and friendship that I so deeply desired, and the Word of the Lord every Sunday that I needed to hear, even when I didn’t want to.
“Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’ But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.” Psalm 3: 2-6
It is encouraging to look back and see how I have been taken care of. I am certain of one thing for sure; the Lord has been faithful to me and will continue to be, and He will see me through.
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39
How can I do anything but love God for all He has done for me? From sending His son to die on the cross, to his protection and faithfulness through the years–everything deserves worship, praise, and love.
For all the things God has done, and all the blessings He has bestowed, we should love and obey Him wholeheartedly. And we should pour out love on others, because our hearts are overflowing with love and gratitude for what He’s done.
The thing is, what we have faith in is God’s love. What we have hope for is an eternity worshiping a worthy and holy God because he loved us enough to have mercy. When there is no longer any need for faith, because we have seen God’s glory, when there is no longer any need for hope, because our hope has been fulfilled, love will remain.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through love–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3: 14-19
Thank you for reading! I fell a bit behind; this post is inspired by the Day 7 prompt for #LoveBlog February Challenge: “Faith.” But for such an important prompt, I had to play catch-up and still post, instead of just skipping. I will be posting the Day 8 prompt later.