Your Testimony Isn’t About You
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the common phrase – “Testimony Time”?
How do you feel when someone tells you to share your testimony? The majority of us panic and become anxious. Heartbeats quicken to twice the pace, faces break out in cold sweat, bodies tremble with fear.
Many Christians have developed a fear for sharing their testimonies because they picture themselves centre stage, illuminated by bright stage lights, standing in front of many seats filled with eyes which fixate solely on them. We fear that others will judge us and scrutinize our lives or fall in the other extreme where we believe our story is simply not powerful.
Christians often believe testimony only refers to the first moment they became saved. Many have created this idea of testimony, but what does the word actually mean?
The Merriam Webster Dictionary, defining defined testimony in two ways; “proof or evidence that something exists or is true” and “a formal written or spoken statement, especially one given in a court of law.”
Going by these definitions, testimonies can be used in apologetics and prove God exists when others try to disprove His existence. This idea is supported by 1 Peter 3:15, which says ” but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
The idea of testimony can be seen throughout the Bible. Jesus in Mark 5:19 told Legion to go home and tell others about how God took away his demons and restored his sanity. David proclaimed God’s faithfulness, majesty, and righteousness throughout the Psalms, including in praise psalms like Psalm 146.
But in this modern time, the word testimony is used to describe the story of the ways God has worked in our lives and how we’ve grown since we first accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It is used to describe God’s faithfulness and recognize who He is.
Often, testimonies within the church testimonies are slightly exaggerated and stories told centred less and less around Jesus, our witness focused less on the existence and glory of God — which can be argued with — and more on our changed lives; bringing the congregation to a systematic shift in focus away from God and toward ourselves and our “changed lives.”
Many Christians have developed a rather confusing habit when it comes to sharing testimonies. We have a tendency to prefer telling dramatic stories about dark, reckless pasts turned around at a sudden moment to grab the attention of the crowd and stir their emotions rather than describe the ebb and flow of real-life faith stories. The more dramatic the conversion story, the better.
There seems to be an obsession with sensational testimonies and tangible moments of catharsis—you know, those brilliant “this-changes-everything” moments that make every story better.
The way we do testimonies needs to change. If we are still trying to make church, faith, and Christian living real, testimonies need to get real, too. We can’t act like our struggles magically disappeared when we accepted Christ.
Anything but the truth does a disservice to ourselves, to truth, and to each other.
How many times have you heard people question whether or not they are saved? One of the biggest reasons people question that is because they feel like they’re not allowed to struggle.
As a believer, struggle is a reality. Temptation is a reality. Failure is a reality. Yes, even for those who are actively walking with Christ.
We can and should work to change Christian culture so that struggle doesn’t have to be so embarrassing. The reality of Christ is that shame isn’t ours to bear (Isaiah 61:7). The reality of living in faith is that Christians need to support each other (Ephesians 4, 5).
Telling real testimonies to glorify God’s name is the real deal.
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