Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Testimony for My Birthday

My birthday is this week, and I want to share something I wrote early a while ago in response to an evangelical gentleman with whom I was discussing religion and God. The following was part of my testimony (my witness) to him:

"If I tell you I have done and am doing exactly what you ask of me, can you accept that I am not just sincere, but that I might be "correct" - even if you personally don’t think it could be true of you within my own denomination? Your words seem to indicate that you could accept that, but I’m not quite sure.

For background purposes only, I have gone through what you describe. I have read the Bible countless times; I study it regularly; my “favorite” reading text is not the Book of Mormon, but the New Testament; I have attended Master’s and Doctorate level Comparative Religion classes; I pray regularly and try to have a prayer in my heart always; I have had spiritual experiences that simply are undeniable - not touchy-feely emotionalism, but real communion with the Spirit of God; I have see the hand of God in very real and undeniable ways - again, not emotion-based, but actually tangible evidences of His majesty and might; I have participated in the truly miraculous, through no merit of my own; I could go on and on and on, but the central point is that I have experienced and continue to experience God in my life as a follower of Christ who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I choose to be a member of that church because it matches what I have come to believe about the nature of God and Jesus, the Christ, and salvation and grace and fruit and the atonement and spirituality and revelation and so much more. All of that “understanding”, however, is not what makes me Christian; rather, what makes me Christian is my poor attempt to model my life after the admonitions and counsel and command and encouragement of my Lord and Redeemer - my attempt to accept the Good News of the Gospel - to have faith enough to believe and follow what He asks of me - to strive to repent and turn my life to Him, so that my spirit can be regenerated by His Spirit and I can do His works (pure fruit of the vine) rather than mine - to allow Him to make of me what He desires me to be. My denomination does not make me a Christian, but it does help me reach for Him and try to place my life in His hands - to accept His invitation to “Come, follow me” - to cast my burdens at His feet and take His yoke upon me - etc."

Most importantly, it helps me understand my relationship to my Father in Heaven, and I am eternally grateful for that understanding.


Clean Cut said...

This is a wonderful testimony. Amen, amen, and amen.

Patty said...

Happy Birthday! And thank you for sharing this. It is beautiful.