The value of telling others what Jesus has done for you

The value of telling others what Jesus has done for you

There is something wonderful about being reminded of God’s goodness to us in Jesus. We should be told about it in sermons and sing about it in songs. The gospel is an objective truth that all Christians are built up by.  However, there is something special about hearing how God has worked in the life of a specific Christian. Hearing how the glorious truth of Jesus’ dying for our sins has been applied to one life helps all of us understand the real power of God. When someone tells the story of how they came to be a Christian, that is called a ‘testimony’.

The apostle Paul is the great Biblical example here. He, admittedly, had a memorable conversion experience when the risen Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus. He does tell his story several times in different contexts later in the book of Acts. Paul also refers to his conversion in various ways in his letters, emphasising his unworthiness and the grace of God. He sees his testimony as an opportunity to direct people to the power of Jesus.

When someone tells their story to other people, it forces them to think and explain what happened in a logical way. Coming to know Jesus is often a long process with many factors and explaining it to other people forces us to be clear and concise. Of course, it has great value to the ones listening if they are believers! I recall a few times the congregation at church was in tears as they heard how God had been so gracious to someone. Testimonies remind us that God is still active, that he is saving people even today, and we should rejoice as we hear them like the angels rejoice at any sinner who is saved.

One value of testimonies that is not often thought about is their value for evangelism in a post-modern society. Often our non-Christian friends can shrug off direct discussion about Christianity, saying that this might be fine for us, but it is not for them. Everyone has their own truth, in their opinion. Testimonies might be a way of getting God into the conversation. “Yes, everyone has their own experience and truth, sure, so let me tell you what my experience and truth are.” When you tell your story, the person listening doesn’t see that as a threat, and you have the opportunity to explain the hope that you have in Jesus. You are not telling them they must believe this, but you are showing them the value of believing this for your life.

As we are all self-centred people at heart, when we are preparing a testimony we need to keep some things in mind. A good testimony points people to Jesus, not to us. We don’t want people to walk away from our testimony thinking that we are clever people who sorted our lives out! It is also important to speak plainly and without Christian jargon. It might encourage a mature Christian when you say that your heart was ‘fast-bound in sin but the saving grace of God led to your justification’; for most people, to say you were ‘lost living your own way but God rescued you by his mercy’ is more helpful. A good testimony should also explain what practical difference Jesus makes to your life; what has changed since you came to know Jesus? Trusting Jesus changes everything, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a few examples.

Telling the story of what God has done for you should be a great encouragement. If you’ve never done it, try writing it down. You might be encouraged yourself as you recall things and get them in order. God is so much kinder than we deserve.