© 2021 Wendy Kandi / Harvest City Church

“Even if I testify about myself,” Jesus replied, “My testimony is true, because I know where I came from and where I’m going. But you don’t know where I come from or where I’m going.” (John 8:14, CSB)

For the past few years, at the start of each year, I find myself drawn to a verse which ends up sticking with me throughout the year and keeps drawing me back: sometimes because of what has happened in the previous year; sometimes because of what has been preached; sometimes just out of a desire; and sometimes for no reason at all.

For example, in 2020, my verse of the year was to be careful in my standing lest I fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). This came as I saw many people – who we had thought we would walk together with forever – leave and choose a different path. I didn’t want to fall away from the path God had set before me and so I wanted to remind myself to stand and not fall.

However, the verse for 2021 is on a different level. In a year full of confusion and isolation, there were times where I was alone and couldn’t get the much-needed encouragement or affirmation from my support system that I was used to, and it made me realise that all I really need is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

In John 8:14, the world was trying to tell Jesus who He was and wasn’t. They said He wasn’t the Son of God, they said He was a demon-possessed false prophet, they said He wasn’t telling the truth, and they said He was blasphemous. Jesus had previously told them (John 5:31-40) that no, it’s true! He is the Son of God and the miracles He was performing were a testament to the fact that it was God who sent Him. But this time He decided not to try to convince them again. Instead, He decided to stand on His truth and He testified about Himself, about who He is, and He said to them, ‘I don’t need you to be my witnesses – nor do I need to provide you with some – because I know my truth. I know it’s valid because I know who I am and where I come from.’

This made me realise that I have to be able to testify about myself to myself and others, that I have to be confident in who I am, and that I have to know in my heart that that truth is valid and have it confirmed by God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Last year, because I am clinically extremely vulnerable, the NHS and the government decided that it was necessary to protect me (and many others like me) from the worst of the pandemic. They delivered food for me, and sent letters and texts telling me to be careful. Though I am very grateful for their kindness and care (genuinely, from my heart!) the unwanted side effect was that I became fearful.

I started to rewrite my history to fit what they were saying: It’s true, you know, I am extremely vulnerable, I always have been, ever since I was born! One wrong move and that’s it for me! I’m weak and may not survive. Prevention is better than cure. Better safe than sorry… I didn’t just start shielding from danger, I started shielding from life. Their well-intentioned truth became my cage because I forgot the real truth that Christ had testified over my life, and which the Holy Spirit agreed in me!

This is the real truth: I am strong because Jesus strengthens me (Philippians 4:13); I am safe because God protects me (Psalm 91); I am confident because the Holy Spirit advocates for me (John 14:26); I am not alone because He will never leave nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5); and I will survive because He is the giver of life (Psalm 36:9). My body may be extremely vulnerable, but my soul is extremely valuable!

This is my truth this year, and even if no one joins me in testifying it, it’s valid because I know who I am, in the name of Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying you should take risks or ignore your doctors! I’m not saying don’t listen to or seek advice. I’m not saying discard good people who encourage you, and I’m not saying be alone.

I am saying, first and foremost, make sure you know Jesus, who is the Way, the Life and the Truth (John 14:6). Stand on that truth, and every now and then remind yourself of that truth that only you and He know; the truth that is valid, the truth that doesn’t judge based on human standards, the truth that is real, eternal and life-giving, the truth that only through Jesus can you be true to yourself.

So, this new year, why don’t you lay down the invalid truths that the world may have put on your shoulders – well-intentioned or not – and seek to know the real truth of Jesus. Then will you live a peaceful and prosperous 2021.