If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor,and I know that his testimony about me is true. (John 5:31-32)
Relate: I ran cross country for a couple years way back in high school. I am sure that every now and then when talking to friends I might reminisce about what a great runner I was, but that isn’t really the case. I was mediocre. I was average, maybe slightly above average the second year. My biggest hindrance was that I had other bigger priorities and I just didn’t put the time and effort into practice that I should have. My real love was soccer. That said, my best race was also my worst. Somewhere between a half mile and a mile into this one 3.1 mile course I was running in my normal spot, the middle of the pack, when my foot came down the wrong way on a loose rock. I fell to my hands and knees. I immediately tried to get right back up and keep going only to fall again.
To say my right knee was sore would be a gross understatement. That leg couldn’t take any weight at all. As one runner after another passed me by I knew I had a choice. I could either limp and crawl my way that half mile back to the start or I could limp my way onward over two miles through the woods to that same point. I pushed onward. It was simultaneously one of the best and dumbest decisions I made in my high school career. I had partial tear on my PCL (a ligament that stabilizes your knee) and spent the next few weeks on crutches. Before I could use those crutches, I first had to finish that race. By the time I crossed the finish line almost everyone else would have lapped me at least once if they chose to run the course again. Instead my team had loaded on the bus and was ready to go home. Other teams were doing the same and there was only one person still there, cheering me on as I crossed that finish line and collapsed. My dad.
React: Paul writes to the church in Corinth, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.” He is hitting on a vital truth that most of us grasp intellectually but most of us truly understand. We cannot judge ourselves. We can’t grade ourselves. We simply aren’t able to do so truthfully. Depending on our temperament we will either be too harsh or too lax (or both at the same time). We will let ourselves off the hook when our feet should be held to the fire. We will be overly critical when we really need an arm across our shoulders.
Even Jesus said, “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor,and I know that his testimony about me is true.” He knew that he had a Father who was proud of Him. That testimony gave Jesus the strength to endure the pain and carry on right to the end. You have that same Father who will give testimony about you. So do I. So did I. The reason I finished that race was because I knew that my father would be there. I knew what He thought of me. I’d heard plenty of times how proud of me he was. No matter how much of a quitter I felt like, no matter how bad of a failure I called myself, I knew his testimony about me. I could endure the pain and carry on all the way to the finish line.
God, I thank You that You call me fearfully and wonderfully made. I thank You that You call me beautiful. You call me forgiven. You call me Your own. No matter what others say about me, no matter what my own mind might whisper to me in the dark nights of my soul, help me not to listen. Only Your testimony is valid. And You call me loved.