“You want me to do what? Give my testimony? Oh no, I can’t do that!”
What is it about sharing one’s testimony that causes so much fear? I have seen a towering giant reduced to a cowering weakling at the very thought; but I’ve also seen the power of the Holy Spirit transform an unnoticeable “mouse” into a fearless powerhouse for Christ!
When we invite Jesus Christ to be the Leader of our lives, He gives us His Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides, opens doors and removes barriers so that life-changing conversations can happen, and He empowers us to proclaim the life-saving message of the gospel boldly! The Holy Spirit gave power to the apostles Paul and Peter, Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, Phoebe Palmer, William Booth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eva Burrows, Billy Graham… and gives power to YOU!
The Holy Spirit doesn’t want us to be fearful. When we rely on the Holy Spirit, He speaks through us and gives us the words and perfect timing to make the greatest impact for the Kingdom.
As children, our favorite stories began “Once upon a time….” What were the elements of those stories that drew you in? The stories that were most memorable for me had characters with whom I could identify. Regardless of the story’s setting, the characters had traits—and flaws—just like me. Inevitably, the character had a crisis moment. The whole story pivoted, followed by some sort of life transformation. Sound about right?
Giving your testimony—or telling your story—is sort of like that. Everyone has a story to tell.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15).
So, how does one begin to tell their story?
Step 1: PRAY.
Ask the Holy Spirit to organize your thoughts and prompt you when to share your story.
Step 2: PLAN.
Take some time to write your story, answering these questions:
• What was life like before you met Jesus? How did you feel? What were your character flaws? Were you striving? Self-destructive? Guilty? Fear-stricken? Despairing? List a few simple, uncomplicated, succinct words that are true for you.
• How did you meet Christ? Keep it simple. “Then my friend told me about Jesus. I trusted Him to lead my life.” Don’t drag out the story—keep it short so that the person who hears it will want to know more.
• How has life changed after meeting Jesus? List a few words that tell how your “before” has been transformed, such as: now I’m at peace; now I’m healthy; liberated; confident; hopeful!
In other words, this is a before-and-after faith story. Keep it simple, clear, honest, and free from “churchy” words. Try to refine your story down to around 50 words!
Step 3: PRACTICE.
To feel more comfortable sharing your story, practice telling it. Tell it in front of a mirror. Share it with a close friend (ask for helpful feedback). Ask the Holy Spirit to help you and to bring people into your sphere of influence who need to hear your story.
Next, tell God’s story.
Sooner or later, you will need to explain God’s plan for salvation. One tool that I have found to be helpful is the illustration called “The Bridge.” It’s a simple but powerful way to show what God—through His Son, Jesus Christ—did for humankind. It can be sketched on a piece of paper, a napkin, or even drawn in the dirt!
To share the Gospel, follow these four simple steps (from billygraham.org):
1. Tell them about God’s plan—peace and life.
God loves you and wants you to experience the peace and life He offers. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He has a plan for you.
2. Share our problem—separation from God.
Being at peace with God is not automatic. By nature, we are all separated from Him. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). God is holy, but we are human and don’t measure up to His perfect standard. We are sinful, and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
3. Talk about God’s remedy—the cross.
God’s love bridges the gap of separation between you and Him. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave, He paid the penalty for your sins. The Bible says, “‘He Himself bore our sins’ in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by His wounds you have been healed’” (1 Peter 2:24).
4. Our response—receive Christ.
You cross the bridge into God’s family when you accept Christ’s free gift of salvation. The Bible says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
Imagine saying this to someone who wants to become a Christian:
To receive Christ, you need to do four things:
• Admit you’re a sinner.
• Ask forgiveness and be willing to turn away from your sins.
• Believe that Christ died for you on the cross.
• Receive Christ into your heart and life.
Romans 10:13 says, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Here’s a prayer you can pray to receive Christ:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. In Your name, Amen.”
You have a story, and God has a story—so learn to tell them well, trusting the Holy Spirit!