The Power of Your Testimony
January 6, 2020
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If you are a Christian, your testimony—the story of how God stepped in and changed you through His Son—is a direct reflection of the undisputable, life-changing power of the Gospel. It’s one of the most effective tools in our evangelism toolbox. Before you got saved, there was an “old you” who was caught up in sin and didn’t know or have a relationship with the Lord. But now you have been changed by the goodness and mercy of the Lord. You can glorify God and magnify His message by telling others about how He changed you.
Sharing your testimony is much like being called to take the witness stand in court. Witnesses are bound by law and an oath to tell the truth about what they know and what they’ve seen. What would happen if the witness took the stand, was asked for his or her testimony, but never opened his or her mouth? I’m not sure the judge would be pleased with that type of response!
The same scenario happens every day in the “court of public opinion” (a.k.a. your everyday world). There comes a time when you will have to do more than wear your favorite Christian T-shirt or a cross necklace, or carry your Bible around at work or school. Sooner or later, you will have to open your mouth and speak. You have to testify. You have to tell what Jesus has done in your life. First Peter 2:9 lovingly explains:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Write It Down
Let me encourage you to do an exercise that I believe will help you to tell your story. Take out a piece of paper, or you can do so in the study question section at the end of this chapter, and divide it into three sections and label them. These represent three distinctive times of your life:
Section A is your life before you became a Christian.
Section B explains how you became a Christian.
Section C describes your life since meeting Jesus.
Now begin to write out your testimony in each category. (You might need three separate pages, and that’s okay.) Section A should be easy because everyone seems to remember how they used to be before they met Jesus! Section B may be a bit more challenging, as not everyone has had a “Damascus Road” experience like Paul did in Acts 9. But every believer should be able to explain when and how they got saved. Section C will detail how God changed you—the areas of your life that God completely rearranged for His glory, and the fruit or evidence of this transformation.
The apostle Paul gave us a great example of this very exercise in Acts 22. In Acts 22:3–4, we find Paul’s “Section A,” which is his life before he met Jesus. He wrote, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison.”
Nice guy, right? Persecuting Christians to their death. And you thought your first section was rough! You might have done some bad things before you gave your life to Jesus, but I doubt killing Christians for pleasure was one of them!
Paul’s “Section B,” where he explained how he got saved, is found in verses 6 and 7. Here is his testimony:
“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’”
As I said before, perhaps your experience wasn’t this dramatic. Not everyone literally “sees the light,” audibly hears the voice of the Lord, and is blinded for a time like Paul was. But you need to be able to explain the miraculous moment when you finally became a believer in Jesus Christ and surrendered your life over to Him. Then Paul continued his remarkable story in verses 12 through 16, explaining that a devout and highly-respected man named Ananias came to see him. “He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him. Then he said:
‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’”
Who was your Ananias in your own salvation story?
Who explained the Gospel to you, or invited you to church or Bible study? Where were you when you first heard the Gospel? Or what was the catalyst—the sermon, event, or prayer—in which God touched your heart? Was it at a youth camp, a Christian retreat, or beside your bed one night as you were crying out to the Lord? Did it happen while you were listening to a sermon on the radio, television, or Internet? Who gave you your first Bible? When and where did you get baptized, and by whom? Whatever your unique story may be, spend some time writing down your Section B, using these questions as your guide.
The remainder of Acts 22 is “Section C” of Paul’s life. Jesus appeared to him a second time and told him in verse 21, “Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.” And for the remainder of Paul’s life, he was faithful to this calling. His “Section C” was filled with many hardships and challenges, but also with great miracles and teaching. Paul became one of the greatest ministers of the Gospel, leading many to salvation and starting influential churches throughout the ancient world.
As you write down your “Section C,” ask yourself:
– Who am I now in Christ?
– How is this in contrast to who I was before?
– How has God changed me?
– How is He glorified in me?
– What fruit is displayed in my life? (See Colossians 1:10 and Galatians 5:22–26.)
– How is the work of the Gospel evidenced in my life?
Why is this a good exercise?
Mainly because I have found that the people who actually write out their story become more confident in telling it to others. Plus, it is always good to recall all that God has done in your life, giving Him all praise and glory. The story of a changed person is a powerful thing. If you would like to see the most powerful tool of evangelism besides the Gospel itself, just look in the mirror. You may appear to be an ordinary person, but you have power inside of you. You are living proof of the Good News of Jesus Christ. You have been irreversibly and radically changed by Jesus. It’s difficult to dispute the evidence of a transformed life.
Pastor Dudley Rutherford is the author of “Compelled: The Irresistible Call to Share Your Faith” (available on Amazon) and the senior pastor of Shepherd Church, which has three campuses in the Greater Los Angeles area—Porter Ranch, Woodland Hills, and Agua Dulce. You can connect with Dudley at www.LiftUpJesus.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.