Written by Shawn Naylor
Newly into my speaking ministry, I found myself flying to the Bible Belt of Texas to speak at a youth conference and host a Sunday service at a local church. This was a very large church, and many would say it was a make or break it moment. I felt a lot of pressure to “bring it” and perform at my best.
Instead, God took that opportunity to work on me. In the middle of giving my message, I became flustered. I lost sight of the point I was trying to make. Internally, I begged God for help, and then promptly dropped my papers all over the stage. Of course, I hadn’t numbered them, so everything was completely out of order. There was no way I could pull this together again.
Then the Holy Spirit asked me, “Why are you stopping my glory?”
I was taken aback by this question. I knew what God was asking of me, but until that point I had never shared my whole testimony publicly. I thought that if I shared everything, I would ruin the Lord’s work, and my opportunities would stop. Yet this was what God wanted in order to build His kingdom. I had already bombed the message, what else did I have to lose?
So I shared for the first time with my hands and voice trembling, to this megachurch and those watching live on network TV, that I had been selling myself to viewers online through the sex industry. As I began to unfold this part of my testimony, I felt a great weight come off me. The confidence and freedom that came with it were equal to an adrenaline rush.
Jesus is not just the redeemer of situations that make sense, He is the redeemer of all things. At the end of the message I made a call for people to accept Christ, and people responded. One woman in particular who came to the front said that she was in also the sex industry. She told me that if God could redeem me, then He could redeem her. I had the incredible opportunity of watching people come to Christ as a result of the testimony of God’s greatness in every area of my life.
Even in momentary obedience, the eternal glory is revealed.
We try to hide things for fear of the earthly consequences. This behaviour is selfish and imprisoning. If we believe our debt of sin was paid in full by the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, it is imperative to bring those hidden things to the light. By doing this we surrender to Jesus, asking Him to act and redeem us, and we cooperate in His arrest of death and decay. In contrast, keeping things in the dark only builds our own prison.
Christ said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV). In leadership, we are called lead people, including ourselves, to live a life that is not needlessly impeded by self-built prisons. Remember, Jesus doesn’t stop once we are liberated; he uses that liberation to liberate others.
As Christ’s redeeming glory is revealed through us, God speaks to the hearts of those who think it’s impossible for them to be forgiven for the things they have done. Our lives become examples for those around us, even those we don’t see. Once we quit stopping God’s glory, we start living life abundantly.