Christians don’t have just one story or testimony; we have many. Our testimonies are stories of God’s power and presence in our lives. Every new day brings fresh stories of God’s goodness and grace.
Years ago I read Rebecca Pippert’s book “Out of the Saltshaker” on witnessing to others about Jesus. She wrote, “Every Christian has a personal story to tell … God has called you to be a very specific, very special person, and your story, your life, is a testimony to God’s goodness, his grace, his forgiveness. So share who you are with people. Let them know you have struggles, but that God has made a difference.”
In the Scriptures, we read about a woman at the well whom Jesus spoke to about salvation. So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’” (John 4:28-29)
Your story can be a changed relationship where Jesus has brought forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing between you and an important person in your life. It can be about finding a new purpose in life and that life is not ‘live…die…end of story. It can be how you overcame, with God’s help, living in fear and are now walking in faith and freedom.
Followers of Jesus don’t have one testimony; we have many. Because God is active and working in our lives, we have new stories to tell every day. These stories, or testimonies, recount how God is present and powerful. Every time God works in your life; every time He moves in your circumstances and situation; every time He shows you a new truth and gives you a new understanding – you have another testimony or story to tell. God moves, works, and transforms lives and, as He does, you have more to share about His presence and power in your life. So, your story should always be fresh and current.
In some situations your testimony will be a recounting of how you first became a follower of Jesus. At other times it will be a story about how God is at work in your life today. No matter what kind of testimony your share, there are a number of things you need to remember.
1> ASK FOR PERMISSION AND DON’T BE PUSHY
If you have a sense that the door is open to share a testimony, first ask for permission. “Would you mind if I told you a little about a way God has changed my life?” Or, “I’d like to tell you how I first came to have a relationship with Jesus. Would that be alright with you?”
We honour people and show them respect when we allow them to tell us whether they are ready to enter into this new level of conversation.
2> USE ORDINARY LANGUAGE
The longer we follow Jesus and the more time we spend with other Christians, the more sensitive we need to be about our language when we tell our story of faith. We can’t and shouldn’t assume nonbelievers will know what we mean when we refer to sin, redemption, grace, or dozens of other wonderful words. These terms, and others like them, are rich and helpful when believers are talking together. But when we share a testimony with those who are not born again, it is best to assume that others won’t know these terms and to use plain language.