One of the key lessons we learned when we were on our wilderness journey was how to bear testimony. Bearing testimony means that you witness something and then tell others about what you witnessed. Witness and testimony are words we hear often used in courts of law because they have legal implications. In the spirit being a witness and bearing testimony also has a significant legal element as well. As we journeyed God taught us that we were to be a witness and bear testimony for God and to God. There is a critical distinction between the two. We soon discovered how important they were to our destiny as spiritual assayers.
The first lesson we learned was about how to bear testimony for God. In order to do that we first had to witness His nature and His actions. Wanda and I have walked with Jesus for many years but it wasn't until we had our renewal in 1997 that we really began in earnest to follow Him. As we journeyed with Him we had to learn how to hear His voice. Sandy Warner and her Quickened Word helped us out tremendously in our early days. Learning His voice is simple enough but hard to do. It took years of practice to learn His voice and to obey His commands. Everything He said to us, no matter how odd, matched with what was written in the Bible, His Word. This confirmation helped us find confidence in hearing Him speak. As we learned how to hear His voice we began to see His emotions and character come through His words. Over time we began to know Him more intimately. These lessons of what He is like, His thoughts, emotions, character, we would share with others. This is bearing testimony for God. Even though we are still learning more about Him we can still bear testimony of what He is like and what He is saying.
One of the saddest things we see is people bearing testimony about God when they do not know Him. What I mean by that is that they know about Him from what they have learned from others but they do not know Him personally. It became easy, over time, to spot people like this because their image of God did not match what we knew of Him and what is written about Him in His Word. When people bear testimony about God when they do not know Him they do Him a great disservice because they misrepresent Him. Now this can be done innocently by those that are still learning about Him and that is not a problem. We all have misconceptions about God as we mature. As long as we accept correction when it comes we will be fine. The real problem we saw was when people became hardened in their wrong ideas about God and tried to force their false testimony onto others. God will punish those that do this. They are proud and will not humble themselves so they can hear God clearly and testify about Him correctly.
I can remember clearly the day God sternly told me, "I do NOT 'use' people." He was fed up with people saying. "God 'used' so and so to do something." By warning me God was letting me know that He works 'with' people and their sovereign will to achieve His purposes. He does not 'use' them. On the other hand satan loves to 'use' people and frequently overrides their free will through deceit, treachery and bullying. God is not like that. These are the kind of lessons we learn about God as we mature and then bear that testimony to others. If I had not humbled myself and accepted His correction I might be one of those people who incorrectly think that God 'uses' man. This is but one example of bearing testimony for God.
The most difficult lesson we had to learn was how to bear testimony to God. This is unlike bearing testimony for God where we tell people about the God we know personally. Bearing testimony to God involves witnessing a person's response to us when we brought them lessons from God and then bringing that testimony back to Him. These were tough assignments because we had to witness brutal, callous, heartless betrayal at the hands of man. We had to see, first hand, the duplicity, hypocrisy and unfeeling hardness of heart from those who are believers. This was not pleasant to go through but the purpose was not to break us, instead God allowed us to be His representatives so as they treated us so they were treating Him. By this we learned about what He went through and what people are like inside, regardless of what they testified about themselves.
The disconnect between how people saw themselves and how they actually behaved was astonishing at times. People often think about themselves as being 'good' people but when they treat us like dirt we have the unfortunate responsibility of taking our testimony to God and laying it before Him. From there He will judge those people. Now God knows all things, including how hypocritical we all are, so I wondered why He wanted us to bear testimony to Him. I realized that we learned humility, self-sacrifice and empathy through our wilderness journey but why did we have to bear testimony about others back to Him? I found the answer in Deut. 19:15, Matt. 18:16, 2 Cor. 13:1 and 1 Tim. 5:19. All these Scriptures point to a spiritual principle whereby no judgement can be rendered without 2 or 3 witnesses. This is true on earth as well as in heaven. For God to render a just judgement against a person He first needs 2 or 3 witnesses to testify about their behavior. Wanda and I, along with our daughters, became those witnesses so that any judgement God would render against these people would be just and fair.
Now lest you think that you would never behave as the people in our story did let me tell you that every single person that hated us, with only a couple of exceptions, did not start out that way. At first they appeared kind and helpful but at some certain point they turned against us and the testimony we brought. There is a delusion in many today that suggests that how we behave toward others is unimportant and inconsequential. Somehow they think that what really matters is what we do for God or say about God. Hopefully I can help dispel that myth. We came to many people as destitute and homeless, the least of men, not looking for handouts or help but not wanting to be persecuted. What we saw in the response of others appalled us. It was at these moments that Matthew 25:35-46 became clear to us and we began understand the importance of our testimony to God.
I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me. Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave You food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You? And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least [in the estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it for Me.
Then He will say to those at His left hand, Begone from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me and entertain Me, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me with help and ministering care. Then they also [in their turn] will answer, Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You? And He will reply to them, Solemnly I declare to you, in so far as you failed to do it for the least [in the estimation of men] of these, you failed to do it for Me. Then they will go away into eternal punishment, but those who are just and upright and in right standing with God into eternal life.
What we discovered was that God was serious about judgement. He clearly laid out that He will judge us on the basis of how we treated the poor and needy, the least of men. He is so serious that He sent our family out as destitute and homeless to test the hearts of those who claimed to be believers. It is this testimony that we bear against them to God. It is an awful duty but must be done. As we witnessed so shall we testify to Him. I cannot emphasize enough how serious this is. God will look at how you treated others, especially the poor and needy, not at what you 'did' for Him as the basis of His judgement. All your 'good' deeds in the church will not carry an ounce of help for you if you forget about the weightier matters of helping those in need. If you cannot learn to sacrifice of yourself to help those in need then you will have a hard time when the judgement comes.
We were trained to be spiritual assayers by God to test the faith of believers. Sent to places where there were few homeless we tested believer's responses to the helpless. We were witnesses to their cold, cunning, brutal words and icy hearts. Their hypocrisy, duplicity and hate was rubbed in our faces. It is an awful burden to bear such testimony to God but we have to. It is our solemn duty. We are not alone though. There are many like us. We are in your streets, back alleys, vacant lots and parks. We wear dirty clothes and keep all our worldly possessions with us. We are hungry and tired. Cold, sick and hurt. You pass us by hoping we'll go away, ignoring us lest we ask you to help us. You walk by silently, judging us, thinking the worst about us. If you do speak you tell us to go get social services, take welfare, get a job ya bum. You offer other people's help but not your own. You are afraid we'll take from you but the reality is you refuse to give. You refuse to give anything that costs you something. You even refuse to give a smile or a kind word. This is the testimony we bear against you. This is what we bear silently now but will testify before God with a grieving heart. In tears of anguish and pain we will testify before Him how you refused to give of yourself to help us in our misery, our hour of need. We won't be angry or hateful just bearing the overwhelming agony of your callous, insensitive heart.
I plead with you, with tears in my eyes, don't let me, or any spiritual assayer have to testify about you like this. Let us say that you gave of yourself, that you cared and poured out your heart to help those who needed your help. Let us rejoice with you as you receive a reward of blessing because you first blessed others. Don't let your reward pass you by. We are waiting just around the corner for you. God will bring us to you and we wait for that cup of cold water from your hand. Give freely of yourself. Give abundantly and you will nurture your own soul. Then, and only then, will we rejoice in our task as spiritual assayers.
Homer Les and Wanda Ring
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