This month, we’ve been exploring the fine art of sharing a testimony. In “What it Really Means”, we discussed the difference between presenting listeners with a laundry list of our sins and giving a Biblical testimony (one that tells others about God’s character and value in our lives). In “One Liners” and “Deeper Dialogues”, we examined some short (and not so short) ways to put our thoughts about our Redeemer into words. But before we take the plunge into the subject of offering a prepared testimony (as opposed to the spontaneous ones that we’ve discussed so far), we need to take a moment to discuss how to overcome the fear which often accompanies our attempts to bring God into the conversation.
Perhaps the biggest reason for such fear is that sharing about God’s place in our lives often feels a bit awkward and unnatural. After all, we live in a society in which sharing our faith with anyone can be perceived as a hard core attempt at winning converts. Something which we were never commanded to do! (Don’t believe me? Check out Matthew 28:19-20 and note the words “preach” and “teach” – the one comes before conversion, the other after. It is the Holy Spirit Who works in hearts, the command to us is to work with hearts!)
So how do you share your faith (let alone your testimony) without looking like someone who is trying to earn a Heavenly merit badge? To begin with, it’s always easier to share stories about someone you know well than about someone who is only an acquaintance. Start by getting to know God, not just as the One Who saved you, but as a close personal friend. Make the time to read your Bible, pray, memorize scripture, and spend time with other Christians who know Him better than you do! As you get to know Him more intimately, you’ll become more confident in your relationship (and your knowledge!) and talking about Him will begin to come as naturally as conversation about your dearest family and friends.
The second key to alleviating our awkwardness is practice. Start by sharing your testimony with other Believers. They already have a relationship with Jesus and they know about the power He has to change lives. Practice telling them about what God is teaching you and how He is growing you in your walk with Him. You’ll be encouraging them and building up your own nerve all at the same time.
Thirdly, whatever you say, don’t forget to be honest. It’s okay to admit that God has been dealing with your bad temper or has been helping you learn to be a more respectful wife/husband/child/employee/student. Believe it or not, most people admire honesty and can quickly detect when someone’s “perfect life” is a sham whose only purpose is to sell them something. Your struggles give you a connection with the reality that the rest of humanity experiences. Your relationship with God gives you a new perspective on that reality.
When you make it a regular habit to spend time with God and to share His workings with others, something amazing and inexplicable will begin to happen: your tongue will slip. You’ll find yourself accidentally giving testimony at the oddest times and in the most unusual places! It’s like a teenager and her first love – she’ll talk about him even when she doesn’t realize that’s what she’s doing! You’ll do the same. And people will ask you why.