It’s Testimony Time: My Story + His Story
The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him…Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:28-30, 39, 42
What is your testimony? Have you shared it lately? Do others know the source of your hope? Over the past few months our church has challenged each of us to be prepared to share our testimony. I have been in church my entire life, and this is the first time I have experienced such a push toward personal evangelism.
I had already written most of this blog when I read the verses above during my morning quiet time. Tears welled up in my eyes as the Holy Spirit asked me a few questions.
· Do I long to tell others about Jesus?
· Do I simply share what Jesus has done in my life letting go of having to follow a prescribed formula?
· Do I realize that sharing my story can encourage others to know Jesus?
· Do I recognize my story doesn’t save anyone but an encounter with Jesus does?
My husband teaches our Sunday School class. During this focus on evangelism, he has coined this phrase.
My Story + His Story = Evangelism
Regardless of whether or not you have grown up in the church, you may feel a bit apprehensive about sharing your testimony. I believe that is exactly what the evil one wants. He wants you to feel pressure to “get it right” or to “be good enough.” However, just like the woman at the well, we don’t have to be perfect to tell others about Jesus. We just have to share our story. I Peter 3:15-16 reminds us we are to always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks to give an account for the hope that is in you with gentleness and reference.
We can let go of the pressure and apprehension we feel if we remember that our stories don’t save anyone. Our stories don’t bring peace and joy to a hurting heart. Our stories don’t wipe away failure and sin. Our stories don’t reconcile anyone to God. Only HIS story can change lives. Sharing our story is not only a command but an opportunity to pass along a gift that was so freely given to us (Romans 6:23).
I sensed this blog might be a good opportunity to share my story with you for two main reasons. First, if you have never asked Jesus into your heart, I hope my story will lead you toward your own personal, saving encounter with Jesus! Second, if you are a believer in Christ, I hope you will be emboldened to write and share your own story. This world needs to hear our stories so they can experience the saving power of His story!
It’s testimony time! Here is MY STORY.
To say I have been blessed is an understatement. In a world where so many people feel lost and alone, I can honestly say this has never applied to me. I have never felt alone. Never. You might not believe me, but it is true. When I was just nine years old, I asked Jesus into my heart. I don’t remember the date, but I can see it in my mind’s eye.
I was in a revival service listening as well as a young nine-year old girl could. I honestly don’t remember much of what was said, but I remember how I felt. There was this feeling deep in my heart, almost like a burning love or a yearning. I knew Jesus loved me and wanted to come into my heart and stay with me forever. All I had to do was ask and believe. So I did. As the Bible says in Romans 10:13, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Jesus came into my heart that night, and the trajectory of my life changed. From that moment on, I knew I was never alone.
As you can imagine, my understanding of what this all meant was limited as a young child. My parents made sure we were in church when the doors were open. I really knew no different. Somewhere along the way, my childlike faith turned into dutiful submission – follow the rules, be a good girl, do the right thing. In other words, being a Christian became a duty, a series of “to do’s” instead of a love affair with Christ. It was as if I was trying to earn my salvation when Jesus had already saved me!
When you think about a true loving relationship that you have with your parents, spouse, or child, you don’t keep trying to earn their approval. You already have their approval, but you desire to please them because of the love that they have for you. Ephesians 2:4-5 says, But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)
I wanted to change my duty mindset. I still don’t completely understand it. I’m still learning what all of this means, but what I do know is that I have never been alone during my lifetime. Jesus said he would never leave us or forsake us, and that has been true for me. How do I know this?
· When I broke up with my boyfriend (whom I thought I would eventually marry), God sent my soul mate into my life. We’ve been happily married 38 years.
· After my second miscarriage, I was devastated, but God comforted me and eventually blessed us with our youngest daughter.
· When I suddenly lost my Dad at the age of 67, I hurt so badly I could barely breathe. God loved on me, sustained me, and gave me sweet visions of my Dad with Him in heaven. I cling to the promise that I will hug him again.
· When our youngest daughter struggled, I cried out to God to save her, protect her, and rescue her. Today, she is a Worship Leader in a church who loves Jesus.
· When the educational establishment became vicious and unfair, I was forced to lay everything at the foot of the cross, trusting His promises. He was faithful in opening doors I could not have imagined.
I could go on telling you how faithful God has been during my lifetime. The list is endless. Is my life perfect? No. Do I still fail? Yes. But Jesus never leaves me. I am never alone. As I look around the world and I see all the hurt and the anger and deception and frustration, it makes me so sad.
There is an answer to it all, and His name is Jesus. When we accept the gift (and it is a gift) of Jesus, life won’t be perfect, but we can know without a doubt that we won’t have to face anything alone again. You have heard my story, but my story only leads to…
· God has the POWER to save!
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Romans 1:16
· We don’t have to be perfect. God is in the changing business.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
· We don’t have to earn anything! This is God’s gift.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23
· We do have to make a commitment.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you WILL be saved. Romans 10:9
· There is a promise!
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
· We will never be alone.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything in all of creation will ever separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
If you cannot point to a time when you honestly asked Jesus into your heart, don’t delay! Your time is now. Simply pray this prayer and tell a fellow believer who will help you get connected with a local church body. This is only the beginning!
Lord Jesus, for too long I’ve kept you out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear you knocking. By faith I gratefully receive your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words are true. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen.
If Jesus lives in your heart, it’s testimony time! Get alone with God, write out your thoughts, and pray God will give you an opportunity to point others to Jesus. Share your story!
My Story + His Story = Evangelism