by Clayton King
“But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16
Of all the stories you have ever heard and all the ones you can ever tell, none can compare in content or substance to the story of how you became a born again follower of Christ. People can argue with facts, they may not believe the Bible, and they can argue about religious philosophy, but no one can argue with your own testimony of how God saved you.
I was in high school when I first read this verse and it scared me. I had just become a Christian and I was growing in my faith, but I had not talked to a non-Christian about the Lord or what He had done in my life. The element of this verse that scared me was that I realized it was a command. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have.” I knew when reading this verse that God expected me to share the hope of salvation. I realized that I had a responsibility before the Lord to share with people who He was, not just with my Christian friends.
It was during this time that I realized that the Lord has given us each a unique and special gift that is very powerful; our testimony. A testimony is simply the story of how God showed you that you could not make it in this life or the next life without Him and the grace that He offers through Jesus Christ. God has given a testimony to each person who chooses to follow Him, and the stories are as various as the people to whom they belong. Your testimony is special, not only because it tells of your salvation, but also because through telling your testimony to another you may become a part of God reaching that person.
Many people are intimidated to tell others how God revealed Himself to them because it does not seem impressive or powerful enough. But remember that your testimony is important to God and it can be used by Him in awesome ways. There is no such thing as a bad testimony! Some are full of past sins and mistakes, murder, drugs and even prison. Others are pretty tame. No gangs or violence or drug abuse, just a realization of sin and the lostness that resulted in repentance. You do not have to worry that your words or testimony are not good enough to convince someone that God is real. God will take your words and use them in the life of the person you are talking to.
The Bible is full of testimonies of men and women who followed God. Beginning with Adam and Even in Genesis and ending with John’s story in Revelation, we can learn from the accounts of God’s people. In the Old Testament, the writers tell us about the beginning of man and the origin of sin. We read about the sinful nature of man and of his inability to present himself perfect before a righteous God. The New Testament begins with the testimonies of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John telling us of the hope of salvation through Jesus. It continues with the stories of the beginnings of the church: success, persecution, trials and the love of Christians for one another. God has taken these testimonies and culminated them into the Holy Bible, God’s word to us today. Imagine if these believers decided not to record and share the hope that they had in God. What if they did not consider themselves “worthy” enough to tell of God’s working their lives? What if they were too intimidated by others to share about God? What if they allowed their fear of what someone might think of them overcome their obedience to God to tell others about Him?
One Sunday at church services, we had a guest musician leading the music and he paused in between songs asking members to stand and give short testimonies of how they were redeemed. None of the testimonies lasted more than a minute, but after about six people shared their stories, you could sense a sweet spirit of praise because all of us began to remember how we were saved. At the end of the service a young lady came forward desiring to repent of her sins. As we talked to her we realized that God had used all these normal people and each of their testimonies to bring this woman into the Kingdom. She was spellbound by the personal story of believers.
Allow God to use your words. Allow yourself to give testimony to others of who God is and how He has loved you. Be obedient to the call of God to not be ashamed to tell everyone of the hope He has given you.
Used with permission from Clayton King’s book, The Beauty and the Mystery.
For more information, visit www.claytonking.com.