We all have a story. A testimony of how you came to Christ. I have heard stories that date back to kids accepting Jesus into their hearts at the age of five, and I have heard stories of those being saved into adulthood, even the elderly on their deathbeds. The unique thing about the Christian testimony is that combined together our stories all work for the same purpose: to further the kingdom of God. If you find the right person to share it with, your story has a chance to save while someone else’s may not connect. I have started to wonder recently … what am I doing to share my story? Who in my life can be inspired by it? Saved by it? The final outcome, if it all works out, is all too precious: eternity in heaven.
It was mid-December when the nudge came. I ignored it. As we spilled into January God persisted, and I became frightened. Why share my story, Lord? Why risk so much on sharing my testimony? I remember the sermon where our campus pastor called out from the front of the church, “What is God calling you to do this year? How will you respond to this? Will you have the courage to follow Him?” I ducked my head and wept. I caved in and knew what I had to do. I just didn’t know how to do it. Or who to do it with. So I began to pray for that opportunity. Since that day a few weeks ago, two people have come to mind that might benefit from hearing my testimony.
I suppose I should backtrack a little. Some of you know my story. Others may know parts of it but not the entire thing. My story is still too raw to share publicly. All I will say is that four years ago I went through an extremely dark period in my life that led me to make some terrible decisions. However, the beauty of my story is that it had a happy ending. I recovered over that summer of 2012 and decided to rededicate my life to Christ in February of 2013, being baptized and created anew. My story has a chance of benefiting those who are crushed by the weights and pressures of this world. I began to think that if it indeed gave others hope, it was a story worth sharing.
So, I went to God. I prayed. I journaled. I asked Him how to go about doing this. His reply was all too clear. First and foremost, I need to practice my story. Refine it. Polish it up a bit. If I go out into the world sharing it without practicing, it would be like a bird diving off a cliff without even having practiced flying. I’d probably land with a thud, ramming my beak into the ground so hard that it wouldn’t come out. I feel truly blessed that some close friends of mine have agreed to listen to my story. Some for the first time. Others hearing it all over again. With their help, I know I will receive the constructive criticism I need to help others. I cannot wait until next Monday evening to share it with the men in my small group, not to mention the following weekend with my church’s men’s group.
Once my story is polished up a bit, I feel God nudging me to share it. Who with? That remains to be seen. Two people are on my heart, but I need to pray about it. And I would like to complete step one of practicing my testimony before step two comes into play. As I ponder all these possibilities and pray, I ask you the same question my pastor asked me weeks ago: What is God calling you to do in 2016? Is there anyone out there that would benefit from hearing your testimony? A colleague perhaps? A new friend? Someone you are acquainted with but want to go deeper with? In Luke 8: 26-39 we hear the story of a man who was possessed by a legion of demons. Jesus healed him, and told the man, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you” (Luke 8: 39 a).
Who is God calling you to go deeper with? Are you going to ignore His voice anymore? I can’t. I simply can’t. Do you know what that man above did after being healed by Jesus? Luke tells us, “And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him” (Luke 8: 39 b). He listened and obeyed. What an amazing story that guy had to share. And to think about the number of others that came to Christ because of it … wow! I want to be like him. I want to tell others about the amazing things our God can do. How He never turns His back. How He continues to love us no matter what. How with Him at our side, there is no pitfall too big to leap over, no mountain too large to move, no cloud high enough that He can’t carry us to. So, friends, I ask you … what is your story? Who can you share it with?
Embrace your story. Share it with someone that needs to hear it. It may just be the trigger that could change someone else’s life.
(Every time I hear this song—and I have heard it a LOT recently on the radio—it reminds me of how powerful a testimony can be. Listen to Big Daddy Weave below, and let it inspire you to share your story.)