I have been thinking a lot during these past few days about the effect of sin on my testimony. I have been tempted so many times by Satan (who hasn't though?), but I don't know that I've really paid much attention to how giving into Satan would affect my testimony. I don't know that I have ever really given much thought at all to my testimony, except that it is a work in progress.
My thoughts have opened up more questions than answers for me. I know that actions do have an effect on the testimony of a Christian. We have seen it too many times in the media where well known Christians have fallen prey to sins of the flesh. Were they truly forgiven among the public and especially the Christian population? They should be forgiven for we are all sinners. Jesus said in John 8:7, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone." I can not be the one to cast a stone at another, because I am a sinner. That is the thought that I believe should be in the forefront of our minds and hearts as we look at the Christians around us.
Once tainted, can the testimony ever be redeemed? If we look around with true honesty, I believe that we will see that God has redeemed many testimonies, even when the sin seems too great for redemption to take place. I believe that God uses our sins to even further our testimonies, but only if we turn away from sin and allow God the room to work.
I know that none of us is perfect, but do we expect those among us who have a strong testimony to continue to live without sin? (I will say that I fully believe that each Christian's testimony is equally as strong as an others. It's up to the person to fully embrace that and share it with others.) Is that expectation what causes Christians to look at the testimony as tainted and then we continue to live in the flesh and hold that against them?
I know that it is very difficult for me to think about how my actions will affect my testimony. There are times that I don't want to think about my testimony. I don't want it to be important to me for the next however long it is. I want to give into the sins of the flesh instead of constantly fighting. I know that sometimes falling prey to sins of the flesh seems the easiest way to go instead choosing the more difficult road that is the life that God wants us to live.
Thinking before acting isn't something that comes easily, at least it didn't to me as I was growing up. It still doesn't come easily at times even as an adult. It doesn't come easily to my children. Teaching our children to think before acting is a major challenge in growing them up. I think that same line of thinking can apply to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. He is trying so hard to grow us up. He is trying so hard to teach us to think before acting. He only wants the best for us. He does give us room to make mistakes though. He doesn't turn us away. He loves us unconditionally.
Why is it then that we continue on the path of fleshly desires without thinking before acting? Why is it that sins of the flesh have such a strong hold over us at times? Why is it that we choose the sin-filled path when we KNOW it is wrong?
I don't expect answers. A lot of my questions are simply answered by the statement that we live in a sinned filled world. We are human. We are not perfect. If we accept the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, then we are sinners saved by grace and covered by the blood of Jesus.
The tricky part for me is that I don't need to let the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus cause me not to think about the effect my actions will have on my testimony. It is very easy to justify falling prey to sin. "It's okay for me to _____. I know I will be forgiven, because I am a sinner saved by grace." In my opinion, that is a treacherous way of thinking. That way of thinking surely has the power to allow Satan room to mess with my testimony. I think that I should hold my testimony near and dear to my heart. My testimony should be something precious to behold and to be shared. I don't need to create drama or sin in my life in order to add to my testimony. Trying to live "in" this sin-filled world without being "of" this world is certainly challenging enough. That alone will add to my testimony without my deliberate interference.