Tag Archives: What is a Testimony

Sharing Your Testimony: One Liners

20 Mar

Last week in “Sharing Your Testimony: An Introduction” we examined the ideas encompassed within the word “testimony” and how they affect the way in which we view (and tell) our own “God Stories”.  This week, we’ll be diving in a bit deeper as we look at some Biblical testimonies which don’t quite fit the model that we’re used to seeing and how those testimonies better prepare us to deliver our own!

A testimony consists of what we have witnessed concerning God, His character, and His value in our lives and the Scriptures are filled with such stories.  Startlingly, many of these testimonies aren’t lengthy dialogues or detailed descriptions of life before and after encountering God, but rather, one-line testimonies to His greatness.  One of the earliest such testimony is that of Melchizedek recorded in Genesis 14:20:

“…blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”

That’s one powerful line (and only one) describing God’s involvement in the life of Abram.  Melchizedek doesn’t go into a long, drawn out story, but simply states things the way they are: Abram’s enemies have fallen because God delivered them into his hands.  We know to Whom the praise is due – and that’s all we need to know.

Another great example of a one-line testimony (well, actually two) can be found in Job 19:25-26:

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God.”

Simple, yet effective, we see both a declaration about Job’s God and Job’s confidence in his God.

Or how about this one found in Psalm 84:11?

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield;  The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

These brief testimonies are present frequently throughout the Scripture in the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, the Judges, David, Solomon, and the writings of the Psalmists, each declaring God’s goodness and mercy in light of His tremendous blessings and, on occasion, even amidst deep sorrow.  They testify to who God is, what He does, and His value in the life of those who serve Him.

Such one-line testimonies are perhaps the easiest to give: they require no preparation and can be delivered in an instant.  More importantly, they give us an inoffensive way to share our faith without tying other people up in a lengthy dialogue – allowing them to enquire about our faith in their own time.

Not sure you could sum up God’s involvement in your own life in a single sentence?  Try answering one of these questions:

What has He done for you today?

What makes your relationship with Him worth the investment?

What about Him brings you comfort, peace, or reassurance?

These questions, of course, are just a starting place and you’ll likely find quite a few others that inspire equally effective one-line testimonies.  Next week, we’ll take a look at the New Testament and some slightly longer models, but in the meantime, why not share a few of your own one-liners in the comment box below?

Sharing Your Testimony: An Introduction

13 Mar

If you’re anything like me, the first image to enter your mind when someone says you ought to give your “testimony”, is standing in front of a large group of people, your palms sweaty and voice trembling as you tell a story that may or may not actually be that interesting.  “Real” testimonies involve dramatic change: “I was once a drug-dealing, womanizing, alcoholic member of the Hell’s Angels.  Then Jesus changed me and I deal in the gospel, love my daughters, don’t drink, and run a mile from motorcyclists.”  My testimony isn’t at all like that, so it surely isn’t something that anyone is going to want to hear!  Right?

Wrong!  One of the wonders of God’s work is that it looks different in each one of us – and for good reason.  You can bet that the person who thinks that they’re living a pretty decent life isn’t going to be as deeply affected by the story of the reformed biker as they will by the testimony of the church kid who discovered that they need Jesus too!  While your “God Story” might not be that dramatic, you can bet that it has a special place in bringing others to Christ.

So what exactly is a testimony?  The word frequently translated as “testimony” in our English Bibles actually comes from the Greek term “marturio” from which we get “martyr”.  Biblically speaking, these weren’t just people who died for Christ.  In fact, once they’d died, in a strict sense, their active “marturio” had ended.  To be a “martyr” was to demonstrate Christ’s activity in their daily lives and not just to demonstrate it, but to speak of it.  It was a distinct, formal confirmation of Christ’s value.  Webster’s Dictionary gives us a very similar picture, defining a testimony as “evidence” or “an oral or written statement made under oath”.  A “testimonial” is “a statement concerning the character of a person or value of a thing”.

When I first read this, I was rather taken aback.  Following that line of thinking, a Christian testimony becomes any evidence concerning the character of Christ or His value in our lives.  A testimony isn’t just a list of bad things that we did in the past and it doesn’t always revolve around the tale of how we met Christ.

This revelation was particularly valuable to me since I was saved at the age of six.  My testimony in the sense of “How I came to Jesus” is really pretty uninteresting.  I heard a sermon, realized that I had broken God’s rules, and that I needed Him to put things right.  End of story.  If you recognize that a testimony is a statement about the character or value of Christ in your life, however, most of us find that our testimony totally rocks.

For example, my testimony now looks a little bit like this:

I was saved on October 31, 1989.  While most people recognize this day as Halloween, a few others know it as “Reformation Day” – the anniversary of the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral.  Within a month, two things had become apparent:

The first was that God had gifted me as an evangelist.  I didn’t care how old you were or what your life looked like, you needed to hear about Jesus and I was going to tell you.  (I think this made my parents a little nervous at first.)

The second was that God had gifted me with the written word.  My First Grade teacher gave everyone in my class a single piece of paper and asked us to write a Christmas story.  When we were finished, we could return to the front for another piece of paper and write a second story.  I returned 19 times and, when I’d finished, I hadn’t written 20 Christmas stories, but 1 – the life of Christ from birth to resurrection.  I remember being asked why I hadn’t ended with the Wise Men.  The answer?  The story didn’t end there!  And it hasn’t ended yet!

Clearly there isn’t much to tell about my life before Jesus saved me, but there’s certainly plenty of interest that can be communicated about my life after that blessed encounter.  And you can rest assured that your life is the source of a few decent “God Stories” too!  Next week, we’ll take a look at some of the different testimonies presented to us within the pages of Scripture and what those stories have to teach us about how we tell our own.  Meanwhile, why not share your “God Story” (dramatic or otherwise) in the comment box below?

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