“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:11
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let Him deny Himself, and take up His cross, and follow me. Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall loose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if He shall gain the whole world, and lose His own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for His soul?” Matthew 16:14-24
Our weekly Christian devotional
Never in a million years did I ever think that I would be an author of a book–especially a true story about the most horrible season of my life. If you know me personally, even a smidgen, then you’d also know that this truly makes no sense at all.
You see, I’ve been gossiped about most of my life. So, it didn’t take long for me to learn things become much easier when you become more private. Naturally, I backed myself into a safe little comfortable corner. And up until recently, I was totally fine with that.
Trust me, it wasn’t my idea to be this open about myself. Perhaps, if my story was a bit more glamorous it might have been. Unfortunately, my story isn’t amazing or beautiful. It’s painful, embarrassing, kind of out-there and sort of tragic. But, it’s mine.
You’re probably wondering what compelled me to change…
One evening during quiet reflection and prayer, I felt the Lord tug on my heart to write down everything that He’d brought me through.
Aside from childish scribbles, I’d never sat down to accomplish any task like this. At first, putting pen to paper felt really strange…but after a while it was a pretty liberating experience for me. Upon completion, I exhaled. For the first time in a long time, I finally took a full breath in.
But, it wasn’t long before I felt God nudging my heart once again…
“Publish your story.”
“Excuse me, God. But, I don’t think I heard you right…” Perhaps God was taking this little exercise a bit too far.
“Why would I embarrass myself like that? People will think I’m nuts.”
My testimony is strange, uncomfortable and pretty humbling to say the least! I couldn’t help but wonder: What kind of sane person would actually publically admit to the taboo atrocities that I’ve lived through?
After going back and forth with the Lord, I stumbled across Revelation 12:11. Conviction began weighing heavy on me. I realized that my story (as embarrassing as it was) could actually be a tool to help others overcome the same enemy that at one time almost destroyed me. If I were to put aside my own pride, other people could learn from my mistakes and gleam valuable wisdom from my experience.
If I really wanted to live for God, I must be willing to give up anything I was grasping onto—in my case this was my personal dignity! Matthew 16:14-24 encourages Believers to just let all of that ‘other stuff’ go—because the only thing that matters to God is if you’ve got your spiritual priorities straight.
Holding tightly onto my ‘reputation’ would be like gluing a Barbie mask onto my face. Sure, it might be prettier than the real me, but it would prevent me from finding my true calling. It would also stop me from helping others–people who desperately need to know there’s real hope in Jesus.
Of course, doing this wouldn’t be living authentically. That alone feels like a violation against God—and myself! Life is too short and precious to bother embracing a lie.
Character is never formed the easy way; it’s fashioned when we bear down, pushing through those hard trials. I imagine this process is very similar to how diamonds are created.
Next time you pass by the Cartier window, picture what those precious gems had to endure before they were put on display. Every one of those beauties had to succumb to ungodly amounts of intense pressure and heat! In many ways that’s how the victorious Christian life is. It definitely isn’t easy, but there is such value in all of it—even (and especially) in those horrible, dark and painful moments.
Darkness can only be dispelled with light. So, whenever an opportunity arises for you to share how God has brought you through, don’t fear what you may loose. Bolden up, knowing that God has something to gain when you share His glory.
Besides, we’re all just diamonds in the rough; the best way to shine is to let Him shine through us!
Oh, and If your story isn’t a pretty one, that’s okay—-It’s not really about you anyway.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
Who am I to deny you your glory? Who am I to keep the secrets that you’ve been moving my heart to share? Embolden me, God.
I repent for my shame and cowardliness. Your son died so that I could have freedom. I’ve enjoyed the freedom you’ve given me, now I have a responsibility to set others free. Lord, forgive me holding back out of fear of what others may think.
You have entrusted me to empower those who are struggling with the wisdom and experience you’ve given me. I must give, share and encourage those who are losing hope.
From this day forward, I will no longer cower like a coward. I will be bold like a lion that’s in the army of God. I will share what you want me to share, help who you want me to help and give what you want me to give. Bless me with discernment and wisdom in all these areas.
Protect my family and I as we go higher in serving you. Cover us with your precious blood. When I open my mouth or put pen to paper, speak through me, Lord.
In Jesus’ name, because you’re so worth it, Amen.”
Thank you for reading our weekly Christian devotional on verses: Revelation 12:11, John 15:13, Matthew 16:14-24
Please check back and see what we have for you next week!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan
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