Yesterday, we were focusing our thoughts on the fact that my faith grows as I look at Gods’ faithfulness. If I feed my mind, my heart and spirit on God’s faithfulness, I can be full of faith for the challenges facing me. Moreover my feelings of panic or of being overwhelmed by a situation subsides if I can look back and thank God for His faithfulness in the past situations. By doing this we are in fact drawing on our own history with God for encouragement, as David did when he faced Goliath.
Today I believe the Lord wants us to learn how to use thanksgiving to build up our faith by drawing on the testimony of others too, so that we can see the Lord work in the same, or similar ways, for us also. When we hear the testimony of friends and fellow church members we can be enormously encouraged but also, if we’re honest, it can be a bit tricky to handle because, while we love to hear of what the Lord has done for those that we know, the enemy can also use the testimony of others to discourage us.
We always have a choice how we hear and receive testimony. Sometimes it is easy to be excited and encouraged by things that the Lord has done for someone we know, especially if we have been praying for them, but what if the Lord has done something or provides for someone, and it’s the very thing that we have been wanting and waiting and praying for in our life, and it is yet to happen?
Sometimes when we hear what God has done for someone else we have to guard our heart from jealousy; “Why them and not me? or maybe from feeling a bit left out, passed over by God, and left wondering “what have I done wrong”, or “why has God blessed them and not me”. Thoughts something like “I’m clearly not as important” can go through our mind and, unchallenged, these thoughts can lock us into unbelief, as we take up the position of “That’s never going to happen for me”.
I heard a lovely suggestion a while back that can get us past those thoughts and feelings, and it is simply this. If in your family, you buy an ice cream or something nice for one child, how long before the other children are hanging on your arm saying “Me too please”. So how about when you hear a testimony that triggers something in you, you tug on your heavenly Fathers sleeve and say “Me too please”. In other words you take their testimony and you give thanks to God for what He has done for them – that stops the jealous or negative thoughts crashing in – and you say in your own way, “Me too please Father”.
Now of course we know that sometimes any good Dad will not give the same to the second child who asks. For example He may not want to buy his six year old the same smart phone he has bought the sixteen year old. In the same way we know that our heavenly Father will be wise with us in what He grants us in response to our prayers, but if we can keep that attitude of thanksgiving it will stop us from having any kind of ‘spiritual sulk’.
The Holy Spirit will remind us that, ‘He who did not spare His own Son, will He not, along with Him, graciously give us all things?’ Romans 8:32, and also that He is a very good Father. Our thanksgiving and praise to God for the way He has blessed another will help us to stay focused on His ‘faithfulness’, and help us to be ‘full of faith’ and expectancy for what He will do for us, appropriate to our need and maturity.
In Revelation 19:10 we are told that ‘the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy’. So when you get blessed by something good, testify to others about what the Lord has done (in a way that honours God and not you) and release a blessing over them, that they may rise up in their faith and experience more of the Lords goodness for themselves. Likewise when you hear a testimony, receive it with joy and thanksgiving, and thereby release a blessing over yourself, making yourself ready to receive your next miracle.