Transformed to Testify

Transformed to Testify

By Brent Van Elswyk

You may be the only gospel someone ever “reads”! Think about that for a moment.  While not that long ago we could be certain that most people in our culture would read or hear about the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ in a multitude of ways, today that is just not true. What is true is that “you” may be the only gospel that someone ever “reads”.  

Your story of how God revealed Himself to you and the impact of that revelation on your life is called your testimony. God revealed Himself to you and then uses your life to show Himself to you and to others. That is how other people will be “reading” the gospel in you. Sometimes that will involve your “living”, sometimes it will involve your “speaking”, and sometimes it will involve both! A prepared and practiced spoken testimony of your story is a powerful tool for telling others about Jesus.

Testimonies come in a variety of shapes and sizes! A testimony is simply your story of how God has transformed your life. Some testimonies are very dramatic, with wild turning points and big “I get it, moments!”; some are far less so and have a slow build, but they are no less compelling. Some testimonies may involve great struggle and the story of how God helped the person through it. Some may involve different incidents that make far more sense after reflecting on them. You may not realize something is a testimony until much later, but when you think back, you can see the hand of God working in your life.

People today are far more open to authentic, personal stories of faith than to mere teachings and ideas about faith. As Pope Paul VI said many years ago but is even more true today, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”  A personal testimony or witness about the difference Christ has made in your life touches hearts more often than talking about the ideas of faith in an abstract way.  

Someone may argue with you or deny what you believe or attack your faith or disagree with you, but they will never be able to disregard your story or ignore the fact that your life has been changed. Chuck Swindoll has said that someone may “stop his ears to the presentations of a preacher and the pleadings of an evangelist, but he is somehow attracted to the human interest of how you – John Q. Public – found peace within.”

Never underestimate the power of your testimony! Use it and tell it often. You are simply sharing with others about your relationship with Jesus Christ, and the influence He has had and has on your life. The Psalmist reflects this experience when he says, “My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day” (Ps 71:55 ESV) and “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for my soul” (Ps 66:16). True disciples want to tell others about Christ. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you.”

Sometimes you might give your testimony in a small group. Sometimes you might share it with an individual one on one. It’s good to have your testimony prepared for any opportunity that may come up in conversation when you want to share your faith with someone: a friend when you’re out for coffee, someone at work, a relative during a holiday gathering, etc. Who knows when you may have an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus.

Sometimes we might be tempted to think that our story isn’t exciting enough. But God has chosen to work in your life in a particular way for a particular reason. Remember, you are testifying to His work, and that is something to be celebrated!

How do we tell our testimony? The Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:11-24 gives us a framework or a model for sharing our testimony as he shares his. Paul describes in v. 11-12 how the gospel that came to him was not brought by man but by a revelation of Jesus Christ. In v. 13-14 Paul describes his life before knowing Jesus, in v. 15-16a he describes meeting Jesus, and then in v. 16b – 24 he describes his life after coming to know Jesus. To read more about what God did in, to and through Paul, read the book of Acts.

Your testimony is about what God has done in you, to you, and through you! Paul provides you here in Galatians 1:11-24 with a simple outline for your testimony: your life before knowing Jesus, how you came to know Jesus and place your faith in Him, and your life after knowing Jesus. It is about how God has transformed and is transforming you. You are saying in your testimony that “God is real and I’m living proof of that!” Writing and speaking your testimony is knowing what God has accomplished in you and to you, and sharing what God is doing through you.

Here are a few sample questions to help you think through and formulate your testimony.
  1. Before you met Christ, what were some of your needs, what was lacking, or what was missing in your life?
  2. What solutions for your life did you try that didn’t work?

  1. What were the circumstances that caused you to consider Christ?
  2. Tell how you trusted Christ, and briefly include the gospel.

  1. Give an example of how Christ met your needs and/or how He is now contributing to your life.
  2. End with a sentence to the effect that you know that you have eternal life through Christ.”

Keep in mind - you have been transformed to testify! Let God use you and your story to tell others about Jesus. (Romans 10:14-15)

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1 Comment

Mike Saba - July 16th, 2023 at 7:21am

Well written Brent, enjoyed it! I loved your simple plan at the end on how to write your testimony. Thank you!




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