This post is part 4 in a series of posts by Pam Williams on "Writing Our Testimonies." To read the earlier articles click on Writing Our Testimonies: Why We Share, Writing Our Testimonies: A Biblical Example, and Writing Our Testimonies: Life Before Encountering Jesus
Vonette Bright and Barbara Ball, in their book The Joy of Hospitality write: "A personal testimony is not simply a story of how God rescued someone from a life of horrible sin. It is an account of how God transforms lives—no matter where the person comes from or what circumstances the person has experienced. Many people are encouraged by the testimony of someone who was introduced to the Lord at an early age and who then avoided many pitfalls of growing up. God uses each of us as we are, created in His image and transformed by His power."
Whether or not we ever write out our testimony, it is vitally important to realize that the only way to a relationship with God is by trusting Jesus for the forgiveness or our sins. It is not a relationship we can earn or merit. It is a gift of God, free to anyone who accepts it. For those who are unsure if they have ever truly committed their life to Jesus, there is no better time than this present moment to begin a relationship with Him or to renew a stale or uneasy one.
Writing Our Testimonies: Encountering Jesus
In this part of our testimony we describe the circumstances that caused us to get serious and turn our lives over to Jesus. For those who became Christians as a child, their stories will probably also describe a series of events that culminates in their assurance as an adult that yes, they truly want to follow Jesus.
The most important day of our lives as Christians is the day we realized we could trust Jesus for our forgiveness from sin and put our lives into his hands. We can organize and relate that event by including physical, spiritual and emotional details:
a. The physical details: Where was I? When did this happen? What age was I? What was happening at the time? What people or problems influenced my decision? Who shared God’s plan of salvation with me?
b. The spiritual details: Why did I make the decision to trust Christ? What thought process did I go through to reach that decision? How was I convicted of my sin? How was I convinced that Jesus died on the cross for me? How did I come to realize God’s love and grace? How did God begin to work to draw me to Him? Were there any verses from my childhood that stuck in my mind?
c. The emotional details: Many people’s actions spring out of their emotional dissatisfactions—lack of peace, fear of death or hell, no meaning to life, loneliness, lack of security, a void in their lives, lack of purpose, longing to be loved and unconditionally accepted, alcohol or chemical dependencies, guilt, hopelessness, boredom with religion, need of healing, a hunger to know God better.
What motivated me? How was I impacted? What did I feel? What did I commit to? What was my conversation with God?
In this portion, we also want include the basics of the gospel as they applied to ourselves: 1) Realize I sin. 2) Admit that the punishment for my sin is eternal separation from God. 3) Believe that God loved me so much that Jesus took the punishment for my sin by dying on the cross. 4) Confirm my salvation by telling others what I believe in my heart.
By applying these Biblical concepts to ourselves rather than using them to point a finger at others, our readers will be more inclined to keep an open mind. After all, our testimony may be the first opportunity for someone to learn how to become a Christian.
Perhaps as you read this post you committed your life to Him for the first time or renewed an earlier commitment. If so, I encourage you to do two things. First, write today’s date in the front of your Bible as a reminder to you when doubts arise. Second, tell someone! I would love to receive an email sharing this good news.
Just as it takes time to become a skilled artist, it takes time to master the art of writing our testimony. It is not learned in one day. A painter has to paint and keep painting, learn what others know, acquire knowledge and develop the skills of painting. As we write our testimony, we do the same thing.
Start by praying; then write as little as a paragraph of your testimony a week. Ponder and change the words, adding some and deleting others. God will form and shape your story into an artistic expression that stirs the hearts of those to whom He is speaking.
©2011 Pamela D. Williams