Stories are the language of the human heart. They have the power to captivate listeners with their relatable desires, conflicts, and struggles. Stories also have the power to define individuals, families, societies, and nations.
One storytelling expert said, “Stories are 2 to 10 times more memorable than facts alone. And that’s why the most influential books in history are series of stories.”
Stories are an essential part of being made in the image of God. Everyone has a story, and God gifts us with storytelling abilities. Most notably, every single one of us exists in the most significant story of all: God’s redemptive story.
As people redeemed by God, there is nothing more important than worshipping God by declaring His story of redemption to others.
Psalm 96:2-4 beckons, “Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.”
Here we see a profound relationship between salvation and proclamation.
Jesus prevailed so that you would proclaim! Jesus triumphed so that you would testify! Jesus achieved so that you would announce! Jesus delivered so that you would declare!
So how do you tell your testimony?
Here are three simple steps:
Step One: Write Out the Gospel
One mistake that Christians make in telling their testimony is making themselves the focus of their story. Because of pride, selfishness, and sin, it is all too easy to present ourselves as the heroes of our own lives.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. You are not the main character of your story. You are not the hero of the story. Rather, Jesus Christ is the main character and hero.
In fact, your story from sin to salvation is not really your story at all. It belongs to God.
Everything you have is a gift from God. This includes your family, geographical location, vocation, talents, resources, and relationships. Even the very breath you breathe is a gift from God.
When it comes to your testimony, this is no different. Your testimony is a precious gift from God.
Therefore, we must be like the Apostle Paul, who says in 2 Corinthians 4:5, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants on account of Jesus.”
Don’t make a mess of the message by making your testimony about you. Make it about Christ! Before you even begin to write out your testimony, write out the gospel.
You can do this using these 4 Cs: Creator, Condition, Christ, and Calling.
- Creator: In wisdom and power, God created us to worship Him. As creatures made in the image of a Holy God, we are accountable to worship Him and to perfectly obey His commands.
- Condition: In sin, humanity exchanged worshipping God for worshipping ourselves. We exchanged obedience for disobedience. Since humanity’s fall, we have a sin nature that willingly chooses to reject God. We are so corrupted that we are unable to obey God. God detests this wickedness, and His holiness demands justice. God’s wrath abides on sinners, and we are deserving of everlasting Hell.
- Christ: In love, God sent His Son to live the obedient life that humanity rejected and to die the death that disobedient humanity deserved. Jesus faced the wrath of God in our place, and He rose from the dead, forever proclaiming that the price of sin has been paid. One day, the eternal Son of God will return to put away wickedness and to usher in the new heavens and the new earth with no more sorrow, sin, or Satan.
- Calling: God calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Him alone for justification, forgiveness, and redemption.
Write out the gospel story and include biblical references for each part.
After you’ve done this, move on to the next step.
Step 2: Write Yourself as the Redeemed Sinner in the Gospel Story
Do you want the Holy Spirit to be able to save someone through the proclamation of your testimony? Then it needs to have the gospel, which is the power of God for salvation. By writing out the gospel first, including biblical references, and then writing yourself as the redeemed sinner in the gospel story, your testimony will be full of Christ, full of the gospel, and full of the Word of God.
Make sure you answer the following questions:
- How did you reject your Creator?
- What did your sinful heart long for? Wealth? Substances? Sexual desires? Power? Control?
- What damage did sin do to yourself and to others?
- How did you hear the gospel?
- What verses gripped your heart?
- What stood out to you about Jesus Christ?
- When did you repent of your sins and put your trust in Christ?
- When did you notice that you had a new heart, one that longed for Jesus and grieved over sin?
- What fruit did you see God doing in your life?
- What is God doing in your life now?
Answering these questions within the context of the gospel will help you frame your narrative within the biblical narrative of redemption.
You don’t want to be provocative about your sin. And you don’t need a “drugs to Jesus” testimony. But you do need a radical testimony.
And here’s the good news: Every salvation story is radical because every salvation story is a story of being brought from death to life by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Whether you believed upon Jesus at 4 or 40, salvation is a miracle from God, and you have something marvelous to proclaim.
You don’t need to know exact dates and you don’t need a perfect recollection of the events in your salvation story. However, you need to recognize a general timeframe when you first began to long for Jesus, grieve over sin, and trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation (and not in any of your good works).
For true, born-again Christians, repentance and faith are not part of a one-time event. They are a present reality. We continue to mourn over sin in our lives, confess and repent of it, and renew our trust in Jesus as the only one who delivers us from the judgment to come.
Also, we want to avoid making it seem like we’ve achieved perfection in this life. This is very important because although the Christian is declared righteous, we still have a sin nature. Until Christ returns, we will continue to struggle against sin and Satan. Christ was not someone we needed simply upon conversion. He is someone we desperately need today. We need the gospel every single day of our lives.
This moves us to the last step.
Step 3: Be Intentional About Proclaiming God’s Redemption Story
Once you’ve written out the gospel story and written yourself in as the redeemed sinner, prepare a 1-minute, 5-minute, and 15-minute version of your testimony. This will help you be prepared to share in opportunities that the Lord will bring as you seek to be used by Him
Here are some ideas to proclaim your testimony:
- Tell it to someone at church.
- Tell it in your church small group. It helps to practice telling your testimony with other believers; you sharpen each other and grow together in proclaiming the Lord.
- Tell it to your spouse and to your children.
- Write it out and give it to family members. A beloved saint in the Lord once told me that he wrote his testimony out on paper and gave it to his dad. His dad came to saving faith in Jesus after reading it.
- Tell it to neighbors and co-workers.
- Write out your testimony and keep copies on you. Hand it to people you encounter throughout the regular endeavors of life. I’ve heard of Christians giving money and their written testimony to homeless people on freeway off-ramps.
- Tell it to plumbers, electricians, painters, and handy people who come into your home.
The most important thing is to be intentional about sharing it, and pray for God’s strength to follow through. And when you run out of people to share it with, pray that the Lord would bring more people your way!
One of the things I do is post my testimony on my social media every February 21st. I’ve been doing this every year since I became a Christian, and it is a wonderful opportunity to reach old friends as well as new ones.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure your story is about Christ and not about yourself. We exist to proclaim Christ. Your testimony is a gift to proclaim Christ.
Also, make sure your proclamation ends with an invitation.
I love the invitation from Isaiah 55:7: “Let the wicked abandon his way, And the unrighteous person his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”
The team at For the Gospel is so excited for you and your desire to proclaim the redemption story that has been given to you by Jesus Christ.
May the faithful proclamation of your testimony be used by God to create many other redemption stories in the lives of those around you.