Recently my husband bought a new watch. Now it isn’t just a regular watch, it is a fitness watch. One that monitors, records, and compares all kinds of things. He says it is basically a personal trainer and an ICU that he can wear on his wrist. It was a big purchase, one that required research. He scanned website after website learning about the different brands and comparing all the different types. After lots of research he was still undecided on what to buy. So he took it to the next level. He started asking questions. Several of his friends have fitness watches so he asked them. He got their thoughts. What was their experience with their watches? Why did they like it? What did they not like? What made them buy that specific watch? It wasn’t until he got their personal testimony or story that he was finally able to narrow it down.
This experience came to mind after listening to our Pastor preach this Sunday. Pastor Clint talked about the familiar Woman at the Well story in the Bible. Although this time he focused on a different part of the story, one that is often overlooked. He explained that the way to go in this life is to worship and to witness. We are to worship God in spirit and in truth. True worship is giving God all our affections, our devotion. To love Him with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. The second way to go is to witness, which is to share our story about what God has done with everyone we come across.
Make it Personal
In John 4:39 we see the power of a personal testimony. Many of the people in the town believed because of the woman’s testimony. And this makes sense, right? We all read the reviews on products we want to buy online. We may have even checked out Consumer Reports. But even better than anonymous testimonies, we want to talk with someone who has actually used the product. We want to know if it actually worked for them. We want to hear it from someone we know and trust.
Most Americans know about God. Most might even know the Sunday school answers to life’s problems and situations. But many people don’t know for sure if it is worth it. Does living for Jesus really work? Is Christianity something different? Why should we listen to the Bible? That is where our personal testimony can make a powerful difference in the lives of those around us!
If someone walked up to you today and asked, “How has God changed your life?”, would you be able to answer that question on the spot? Could you list specific examples of how God has helped you, changed you, and led you? Would you stumble over your words and speak in generalities? Or would you be able to list specific times in your life where God showed up?
Different situations call for different types of testimonies. Sometimes a person only needs to hear 1 or 2 sentences to give them hope. Other times they need to have a conversation to ask clarifying and follow up questions. Many find it helpful to hear the small part of your story that is relevant to their current situation. Still others need the whole 9 yards. They want you to start at the beginning and tell it all.
There are many different ways to share your testimony. I am going to share a few ways below. Think about what you would say with each of the different options. Remember your testimony might be exactly what the other person needs to hear to bring them into eternity with you.
The 2 Sentence Testimony
This is a simple but powerful way to share how your life has changed since Jesus has come into your life. First think about different adjectives that describe what your life was like before Jesus. Then think of words that describe how it looks different now that He is involved. It is a fill in the blank type testimony.
Before I met Jesus I was __________, __________, and ___________. After I met Jesus I was _________, ____________, and ____________.
Before I met Jesus my life was ________________ and ______________. After I met Jesus my life was ____________ and _____________.
Another situation is when a friend or acquaintance is going through a painful life event. They are seeking answers, comfort or hope. They share their story with you, and after listening to them and being with them for a while you get an opportunity to respond. If something similar has happened to you, this is where a specific testimony would be appropriate. Some examples are a divorce, miscarriage, loss of a job, trouble with a relationships or making a hard decision.
Before you start to share, it is important that you acknowledge their feelings. They need to know that they are heard and understood. Then you could start your testimony explaining how you can relate to their story. Then move into how Jesus stepped into your life and comforted you, gave you hope or gave you direction. Explain how He specifically helped you go through that situation. Then explain how you are doing today. It’s okay if you are not completely healed or recovered by it. We are all a work in progress! What is important is focusing on how God is your source, your strength and your hope. That you wouldn’t be able to do it without Him.
Think about your life. What events have happened in your own life that have affected you? Think about ways God has healed your wounds, guided your decisions or gave you hope. Write out your experiences. Think through the different stages of working through the situation or event. Be prepared to share. You never know when someone else will be going through a defining moment and you can bring Jesus into it. It is one of the beautiful ways that God works all things together for good, and redeems your pain.
“Is God Real” Testimony?
People can see through your answers to know if they are genuine or not. They know when you are responding with a doctrine-focused or Sunday School answer. This often isn’t appealing and doesn’t get you very far in convincing others that Jesus is the Way. These types of explanations are needed once a person has committed their life to Christ and wants to understand things in a deeper way. Not when they are trying to decide if they want to follow Christ or not.
So when people are questioning whether or not God is for real, it is important to focus on times when God was real to YOU. When did you feel His presence? When did you know it was for sure God and not made up? It is okay to use words like. “I can’t fully explain it” or “I don’t have all the answers”. As long as you follow it up with something like this…“But this I do know, I don’t know what I would have done if God hadn’t…” You can also explain it like… “This is how I felt beforehand ….. And after God I felt….” Humility and honesty are key as you open up and are vulnerable with others. God is mysterious.
What landmarks do you have in your faith journey? When were you at a turning point and you know it was God that made all the difference? Remember no interaction with the Lord is small or insignificant. It doesn’t matter how terrible or good your past was. Each time you encountered the Lord should be remembered and shared.
My Life Story Testimony
This one takes the most time and effort to share. Maybe you have been asked to share your story in front of your small group or maybe even your youth group. It could also be where your friend continues to ask question after question. It becomes clear they need to hear the backstory to truly understand who you are today.
I love the quote by DK Metcalf from the Seattle Seahawks, “You don’t know my story, you just know the chapter you met me on.” Often people don’t know our whole story, they just know you in the two years your kids were on the same soccer team. Or maybe the five years you worked in the same department. This is okay and appropriate for many people we interact with. But sometimes the Lord will lead you to share your full story with someone. When that time is made clear, it can be even more powerful if we are ready to share it in a way that is easy for the person to understand.
Taking the time to write out your full story is also good for your soul. In the Old Testament, God often reminds the children of Israel to “remember what God has done.” Remembering all that God has done in your life builds your faith. It builds your trust in the Lord. It reminds you of all the times God has kept His promise to never leave you, to walk beside you, to comfort you and to lead you. Even if you write out your story just for you, it will be worth it. Remembering keeps your faith real and alive.
So there you have it, 4 different ways we can use our own life’s experiences to bless and encourage those around us. Pick one this week to focus on. Write it out. Even better, share it with your spouse or your children. We’d love it if you would share your two sentence or short testimony in the comments or on our social media page. Hearing how God has moved in others also builds our own faith.
They have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. Revelation 12:11
If you haven’t watched the online series the Chosen. I highly recommend it. The first episode might not be for children due to the storyline but all the other episodes have been enjoyed by our family aged 8-15. The woman at the well episode was one of our favorites. It really made the story come to life!
In our family we love TobyMac, and this song talks about how people will be attracted to our faith that has been solidified by the way that God has changed our life. And it’s fun!
Can I Get A Witness, by Jordan Feliz