“Then took he Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your Word—for my eyes have seen Your Salvation which You have prepared before the face of all people’.”

Luke 2:28-31

When we know it’s true, it doesn’t matter what others say or do.

First-hand faith.

That’s what Simeon was describing that day as he held the Christ-Child in his arms.  No doubt he’d been expecting the long-awaited Messiah to come riding into Jerusalem atop a prancing white stallion—his sword held high above his head with its blade glistening in the noonday sun.

But, such unmet expectations didn’t bother him—not when the Holy Spirit had already told him “that he should not see death before he’d seen the Lord’s Christ” (v.26).

No, his heart’s desire had finally been realized and now he could “depart in peace—for he’d seen God’s Salvation with his own eyes” and that’s all that mattered.

Second-hand faith is better than no faith, for many came to Christ because of the testimony of the newly-saved, five-time divorced and living-in-sin Samaritan woman who met Jesus at Jacob’s Well (Jn. 4:29, 39).

But, interestingly, “many more believed because of Jesus’ own word—saying ‘Now we believe, not because of the woman’s sayings, but because we have heard Him ourselves and know that this is, indeed, the Christ, the Savior of the world’” (Jn. 4:41-42).  Hallelujah!!

Yes, first-hand faith is always preferable to any other type of faith.

While it’s good to hear others’ testimonies or read biographies and autobiographies of other “champions of faith,” it’s still better to bear witness to that “which we have heard. . .seen with our eyes. . .looked upon. . .and our hands have handled of the Word of Life” (I Jn. 1:1).  There’s inherent power and authority in such a testimony—and, again, no amount of opposition from others or oppression from the evil one can dissuade or deter us from our Ministry of Reconciliation (II Cor. 5:17-21) when we know that we know that we know.  Glory!!

And, believe it or not, when we testify to what the Lord’s done in our lives, others will hear and also be inspired to “speak of Him to all who are looking for God’s redemption” (Lk. 2:38).  Assuredly, the things of our past and what Christ saved us from are a part of our testimony; however, our main focus should be on “Him” and how He’s changed our life (and continues to do so).

We should also remember that the progression is, as Hannah Whithall Smith so aptly described it, “Fact. . .faith. . .feelings.  Fact. . .faith. . .feelings.”  We base our faith upon Who God is and what He has done—which is the basis for “saving/pleasing faith” (Heb. 11:6)—and it matters not whether we “feel” it or not.  If the feelings are there, praise the Lord; if they’re not there, praise the Lord anyway.  Moments of spiritual ecstasy are wonderful, to be sure; but do not measure God’s salvation by them.  If He’s saved you, you’ll know it.  And, so will others.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated December 28, 2010

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