Your testimony is your personal, unique story about experiences and relationship with Jesus Christ. Everyone has one. It’s your relationship with Jesus. It’s a relationship they were created to have, they don’t have, they can have, but it’s a relationship they must choose. Write your story out. Edit it down to 3-5 minutes. Rehearse telling it. Memorize it. Unless you know someone and time allows, few people will listen to a long drawn out story when sharing with them one on one. The following guidelines will help you develop and tell your personal story:
1. Your ‘before’ Christ story: This is your story about what your life was like before you had a relationship with Jesus. For example, you could tell:
– about some addiction or bad habit you struggled with
– about a bad relationship you had, a bad personal or family relationship
– about a run-in with the law, committing a crime like shoplifting
– about a mistake or bad decision you made that hurt you, caused you guilt and shame
– about some fear you had, maybe fear of another person, fear to do something, fear of death
– about attending church but you got nothing out of it, you had no relationship with Jesus
For example you could say: “I was never looking for God. I was running from God. I didn’t want to have much to do with God and spiritual things. God kept pursuing me. One day, I realized I needed God and I didn’t have a relationship with Him. God showed me I was trying to run my own life and I needed to give Him control of it. I didn’t join a religion, I began a relationship with Jesus Christ. He’s fixed the mess I’ve made of things and turned my life around. He’s forgiven me for the bad, foolish things I’ve done. I have a new start and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
2. The ‘turning point’ in your life: What happened in your life and heart to show you Jesus was the answer for what you needed and only hope of heaven. You recognized you broke God’s laws, a sinner separated from God because of your sin, condemned to facing God’s wrath, judgment and hell, needed His mercy and forgiveness to be made right with God, made Jesus Lord of your life, He has control of your life and you know for sure you’re forgiven and heaven bound. You’re experiencing the fruit of the Christian life after you first recognized you were a sinner, boss of your own life, in need of God’s forgiveness and needed to trust Him with your life.
3. Your ‘after’ Christ story: This is your personal praise report of your life today. Tell how your relationship with Christ has changed your life, thinking, attitude, behavior, etc. etc. You could say things like, “If it weren’t for Jesus” or “because of my relationship with Jesus”. Tell the difference He’s made in your life. For example, you could tell because of Jesus:
– how a personal or family relationship was restored – how you’ve been made right with God in a relationship with Christ
– how you were able to forgive someone who hurt or abused you
– how you no longer live a foolish, reckless life that put you in danger
– how you overcame some obstacle, struggle, difficulty in your life – overcame some fear, feelings of guilt or shame
– how you got victory over some sin, you have the peace of knowing your sins are forgiven and you’re going to heaven
– how Jesus gives you the strength to abstain from sex, resist peer pressure
– how Jesus helps you to stay away from things that have the potential to mess you up and hurt you
– how Jesus gives you peace, joy and comfort, even in tough times
– how because of Jesus and being a Christian your whole life, you’ve lived a good, trouble free life because God’s grace has kept you from doing bad, wicked things
4. After you tell your story you could say: “If Jesus can do this for me, I know He can do the same for you. But, it didn’t happen until I first put my total faith and trust in Jesus, until I gave Him control of my heart and life”.
5. Ask them if they want what you have. Ask: “Have you ever experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ like the one I’ve described? Would you be interested in knowing how to do that?” If they say ‘no’, don’t force them or get discouraged. Keep loving them, caring about them and praying for them.
Nick Costello – PO Box 303 – Victor, NY – 14564 – www.nickcostello.org