How To Tell Your Own Story
An easy, three-step way to give your testimony.
…Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.’ And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
"Success in witnessing," the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ wrote, "is simply taking the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God." One compelling and personal way you can do this is by sharing your own story. This has several advantages. First, it will be hard for others to argue with you about your experience. Second, people who know you and care about you should be interested in your life's most important thing. Third, your work to understand and tell your own story well makes you a more effective ambassador for Christ and deepens your relationship with Him. You are the best person in the world to answer these next three simple questions, and they can open the door for you to share your faith with your friends.
Remembering your old life — what was life like before Jesus changed it?
To share your story, most helpfully, think: "what would Jesus think is the most important part?" Does that put it in a different perspective? From 2 Timothy, as a servant of Jesus, you should tell it in the hope that… "God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will." (2 Timothy 2:25–26) Memories of the old life may bring up guilt and shame. "Surely you know that the wicked will not possess God's Kingdom. Do not fool yourselves… Some of you were like that." (1 Corinthians 6:9)
Don't make the mistake of sharing too much detail about the old life. Instead, focus on a critical way that it became disappointing. The point is, "…you have been purified from sin; you have been dedicated to God; you have been put right with God by the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:11)
Explaining the new life — what are the most critical ways Jesus changed your life?
Jesus has so many titles to show how He meets a basic need in our lives. He is the "Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6), the "Bread of Life" (John 6:35), the "Light of the world" (John 8:12), the "Vine" (John 15:5). He is "our peace" (Ephesians 2:14), our Rock and Foundation (Psalm 18:2, 1 Corinthians 3:11), and "our hope." (1 Timothy 1:1). One of these is probably special for you. Is it the peace of acceptance into God's family? Is it the satisfaction of knowing you have His love, that He will never leave you or turn you away? The thrill of sensing He turned the light on for you? Before becoming His child, did you feel aimless, hopeless, purposeless as you lived life for yourself? How can you make your listener "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God…" (1 John 3:1)? How can you show them that "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19a)? How is your friend most likely to identify with what Jesus means to you?
Explaining the change — how were you made new?
People are easily confused about what we have to do in order to have our sins forgiven and to gain acceptance into God's family. Don't make it seem as if a ritual, such as a baptism, church membership, or the Lord's Supper, played a part in it. "…he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). Sometimes people are under the impression that they must improve themselves before they can ask Him for forgiveness, but it's hopeless to think that our attempts to be good earn any favor with Him. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one." (Job 14:4) It is "…not your own doing; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8)
Repentance means we change our minds about all of this—our sins, which separate us from God and our hopes of earning His favor by our useless works. (Hebrews 6:1) Faith is no good "work" on our part, but really simple trust in His completed work on our behalf. (Romans 4:5)
It may be important to describe any struggle you had. Sin may have had a great pull on your heart. Shame may have made you hesitate. Angry rebellion may have burned in your mind as you asked what gave God the right to judge. Still, something drew you to the Savior. Something became clear to you. Someone explained it in a moving way to you or served as a powerful example that God changes lives and brings eternal hope if you ask for the Holy Spirit's empowerment if you genuinely love the lost person in your life. If you tell your story well, you could be that person for someone else.
Pray this week:
Lord, thank you for saving me from my sins. My story is amazing because it's what you've done for me. I pray that you'd show me how to share my story in a way that honors you above all else. I love you. Amen.
How did Jesus save you from your sins? Would you share your story with us?