“I can’t do that.”
This statement is one often heard when people are called upon to share their testimony with others, followed by, “Evangelism is not my gifting. Someone else would be much better at it. I wouldn’t know what to say. Just let me serve behind the scenes.”
They talk themselves out of it with thoughts of what could I say that could possibly attract my friend who needs Jesus? And what if I mess it up? Fear of failure creeps in, clamping their mouth shut, waiting for a better moment. And all-the-while, they secretly pray for someone else ‘more qualified’ to step in.
It may be the word testify that causes people to tremble. It feels so very formal, but in reality, it’s just speaking from your personal knowledge. It is your story to tell, your life experience to share. If you have encountered Jesus and He has changed your life, that is Good News, something worth telling everybody.
But still, how do you organize your thoughts. I’m going to suggest that it can be as easy as ABC.
At the church I attend, the weekend service always includes an invitation to say the ABCs. Admit you are a sinner, believe that Jesus paid the penalty for your sins, and choose to following Jesus. It’s a great outline that can also be used to break down your testimony . . . er . . . I mean, your story of how God changed your life.
Let me show you.
What brought you to the point of admitting you needed Jesus?
For me, it was a constant parade of people marching through my life making it easy for me to hear the good news and respond to it. I was a little girl who by the good graces of others went to church. My parents didn’t attend, but my siblings and I were often invited to join friends or relatives at their weekend services. It was on one of those times I met my husband, Paul. He was an all-around good guy and his influence in my life made me want to know Jesus.
Eventually, I decided to ask Jesus into my heart. Acknowledging that I had rejected God was an important part. I had always thought I was rejected because of my sin when that wasn’t the case at all. Jesus was waiting for me to realize He had a plan all worked out, one that brought forgiveness and restoration and the assurance that I was accepted. My part was to place my life into His hands.
How did you give your life to Jesus?
Belief for me was easy in thought but much harder in action. I had to grow into it. I switched alliances from myself to God and back again over and over. I wanted control. I would fail on my own and turn to God. He would put me on the right track. Each time, my rebellion was shorter. It seemed I was catching on to the idea that God’s plan was best when it came to how to live life. Over time, I got to know how faithful God is. No scolding or shame ever came from Him, only love, as He gently taught and corrected me in His ways. It was a process, but I now know Jesus has always had the very best in mind for me.
What has changed since you have chosen to follow Jesus?
‘Choose to follow’ is the ongoing story of Jesus in my life. It is one that will play on into eternity. Significant change had to happen on my end including: getting acquainted with God through His word, learning to listen to the Holy Spirit, and accepting the call to follow Jesus wherever He leads. What does that look like in my everyday activities?
A better me.
Everything I do is focused on loving God and striving to live life according to His standards. Not only do I benefit when I choose this way of life, so do those around me. Walking with Jesus changes how I see things, how I respond to tough situations, how I speak, and how I love. I want to do things His way. My hope is that the world around me will be changed for the good as I follow Him.
So, here’s the thing. The good news about God’s faithfulness to everyone cannot get out there unless we speak up through our words and actions. How else will they know if we don’t tell them? Whose life will your story of God’s faithfulness change? What person will meet Jesus because you invited them to come along to church? You won’t know until you try. It’s worth the risk. I’m living proof. My life was changed through many people being faithful to their calling.
Put your story of faith to work.
The ABCs—admit, believe, choose—is a good place to start.
Write it down.
And . . .
be ready to change the world.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?
As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
4 Comments Add yours
What a wonderful message, Patty! You get right to the basics (admit, believe and choose) and strike down all our excuses for not being a witness. We need to tell our story. In our Sunday School class, we often discuss how we can be a witness and we always come back to the idea of living a life that shows our commitment–live as if Jesus is our light so that others will see and know.
Living a life that show commitment is excellent, but sometimes people don’t know how your life had been changed to get there. The Gospel needs words. I had the same thought for many years with the idea people would see what I had and ask how to get it. Not so. They felt trapped in their sin. Our stories may be the key to unlocking their chains. Thank you for leaving a comment.
I enjoyed reading your story of how you came to know God. It’s beautiful how He draws each of us!
I love to read/hear people’s stories of coming to follow Christ! Thanks for sharing yours. And you’re so right: we need to write down our stories (and even semi-memorize them, if necessary) so we are ready “in season and out of season to give an answer for the hope that we have in Christ Jesus.”
I laughed about your comment on “testify.” I’ve taken to calling it a “story” rather than a “testimony,” too.