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Every human being can talk about God, Christ, and the Bible as long as they have been enabled to speak. The more educated they are, the more convincing such people seem to be, esp. to those who cannot figure out Satan’s elaborate strategies. T. Austin-Sparks said,

The test of everything is whether it really exalts Christ. Not in word only. That may be a form of simulation and exaggeration. (1)

Maybe, that sounds simple to some. To me, it seems to be a plain way to quickly discover whether someone who appears to be nice and charming, charismatic and convincing in the their appearance has truly been talking about the real God in Christ we all want to trust in. Or even the other way round. When we are confronted with someone whom we naturally would not like as they tend to be raw regarding their behavior and way of talking, we ought to be cautious to not spurn them at once.

Therefore, in order to do such a test we need to disregard our likes and dislikes, our impressions and prejudice, and every thought that habitually comes to mind. Instead, we ought to open up our heart to God and ask Him to confirm whether something is wrong or right in His view. We can be sure that He will give us what we were asking for since we have this promise,

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (Js 1:5 ESV)

Just giving you a short example. Today I watched two different testimonies of a man and a woman who both had a personal encounter with God. Both stories were touching. Their descriptions were thrilling and convincing. At first sight you could not detect anything that was wrong. So I did not doubt their initial experience. However, although they both seemed to be humble, the man never pointed to himself and his doing. Like the woman he served other people, from a heart that knew from their own experience what (in this case physical) suffering was like.

However, listening to this woman’s testimony a bit closer, I started to feel uneasy. Although she claimed to be led by God and also knew that we ought to have our being (not our doing) in Him, she extended her encounter with God on all other people who, as she thought, should do the same things Jesus once did (here healing). She started doing what she thought “Jesus” had told her to do and soon a ministry was born that took on a life of its own so that donations were needed to keep it going.

How easy it is to even make biblical topics the religious hub around which all our thinking and doing circles. Although evangelism, as TAS elsewhere pointed out, is biblical and necessary, if evangelism is the focal point of our life and not Christ, the life Christ wants to give us will not be ours yet. If we teach or preach from the Bible without having experienced personally what we share, even though we might share the (written) truth, there will be no spiritual life in it. And we do want to share His life with others, don’t we? Divine, eternal life can only come from the One Who is the Life, the life giving Spirit, or the Word of God.

This should be a short post and so I only want to encourage all of us to rather pray and listen to God’s subtle voice and leading to live a life hidden with Christ in God, a life of which perhaps no one who counts for something in Christianity takes account. But if you and I follow Jesus Christ in our everyday lives, our lives will be of eternal importance. The principalities and powers in the heavenlies, the angelic hosts, and last but not least, the cloud of witnesses around us, they see the power of Christ still at work. In you and me, dear brothers and sisters. May it be so for all of us. Amen. 🙏🏼

(1) https://www.austin-sparks.net/english/000528.html

“In keeping with T. Austin-Sparks’ wishes that what was freely received should be freely given and not sold for profit, and that his messages be reproduced word for word, we ask if you choose to share these messages with others, to please respect his wishes and offer them freely – free of any changes, free of any charge (except necessary distribution costs) and with this statment included.”

Photos by Susanne Schuberth 2023