A young man's testimonyOctober 21, 2008
The following letter was recently written to his family and friends by a young man in our local fellowship. It is copied here exactly as he wrote it. Chris, a faithful husband and father of three daughters, is in his twenties.
Dear Family and Friends,
Greetings and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I am writing you because of the great things that the Lord has been doing in our life these past several years. He has been leading us on a path of understanding His ways for our life. Teaching us to be obedient to His calling, and we have chosen to submit to this Way. This has proven to increase our love, for His Glorious Bride and all of mankind, and given us much peace, being confident that we are following His voice. Even though He has led us on a path that is strange to many He has proven Himself many times to us to increase our faith in Him.
This path began with an understanding that we, as His Body and Bride, are His kingdom on this earth. That we are the kingdom of light, and that we should be seeking His kingdom first. This led to the understanding that if there is a kingdom of light that is ruled by Jesus Christ, than what we came out of is the kingdom of darkness that is under the sway of wicked one. Who was it that offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world during His trial in the desert? Not only did the wicked one offer them but Jesus did not dispute his right to offer them. This kingdom acts in direct opposition to our Creator and the way He made mankind to exist, in perfect submission to Him. If the prince of the power of the air is the ruler of the kingdoms that man creates, then to accept authority in that system is to accept the authority from the evil one. It is obvious, all one needs to do is look at the kingdoms of man and see the death and destruction that goes on no matter how the rulers of the darkness try to clean it up, because they can do nothing but operate inside that system. For a nation to try to operate outside of the darkness would require loving their enemy and humility, among many other principles. How long could a nation operate under those ways? Jesus Christ alone is worthy to rule over man and when a man or woman tries to usurp the authority of God and rule over other men the outcome has been and always will be death. We are not saying that there is absolutely no place for world authorities. Men who do not submit to the King and His ways still need to be ruled by fear.
We believe our submission is to the Holy One of Israel before any other and if He tells us to live our lives a certain way, we obey no matter what. Regardless of the pain and suffering that comes from radical obedience and radical faith, we must pursue the way of our King. He alone is our provider, our benefactor, our sustainer. The Lord God is our Judge our King our Lawgiver, and by His Spirit He writes His laws on the tablet of our heart. To go to one who has set him or herself as ruler of man for provision or protection is in direct opposition to what the Spirit is teaching me. We believe that being a citizen of the united states of america requires acknowledging to it that it is the ultimate authority in our life not Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. We can not swear an oath or enslave ourselves to any man or institution through debt. We can not align ourselves with the kingdom of darkness by pledging allegiance to any nation of the world, united states or any other, we can only bow our knee to our Savior. We can not take the mark of that system, the social security number, that allows men and women to buy and sell inside their system and acknowleges them as their provider forcing them to give them a return, or tithe, on what they have been given, instead of out of gratitude offering back something of what has been given, as is the case of Jehovah Jireh.
Through all of this, the Lord has changed our name to Gardener so as to be brought out of the world system even more. Our lives have taken on many changes that go against the way of darkness, but the history of the church has been one of turning the world upside down. Obviously, God takes us where we are at and we do not condemn any man or woman that does not see how we see. The Spirit uses many men and women for different things, this is just how we have been led. Although we will be the first to acknowledge the abundant life that has been given to us through obedience. Since we have been on this journey, life has become so sweet and the bond that we have with our brothers and sisters that we gather with regularly, has become so deep and so real that we would gladly give our lives for each other and give our lives so that others many have what we have. This is the confidence that our King has given us through seeking His Kingdom, His people, first and living for it and nothing else. Come, taste and see that living radically for our wonderful King is so good. We encourage all who call on His name to look at the history of the body of Christ and see the life that comes from being strangers and aliens and ask the Lord in all situations, what He would have you do, and trust that He will lead you on paths of doing what is right for His namesake. He is Faithful and True and has such a desire to lead those who are willing. He will give us peace that passes all human understanding if we humble ourselves as He did to the point of death, not fearing any man and what they can do to us, but being confident in the work of our Savior, who poured out His blood to cleanse us from all unrighteousness so that we can be Holy, separate, as He is Holy. All praise to the Most High God for His abundant life that He gives us.
We are dead to the world and alive to God. We were once darkness now we are light. We have been transformed from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son of His Love. The Kingdom of God is neither eating or drinking but righteousness. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on things of the Spirit. To be carnally minded is death, to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Christ came preaching a new kingdom, a new way of life, one that is upside down and foolish when seen by the world, I encourage you to live this way.
Both Dana and I are in this together, her convictin is as strong as mine. She is the one who encouraged me to write this letter and even started it. If you have any questions feel free to write or call. We can usually be reached at 620-663-5782 or if you feel like writing, I for one love dialogue through writing, the address at which we can be reached is 1610 E. 26th, Hutchinson, KS 67502.
May the Peace of God dwell in you in abundance,
Chris and Dana Gardener