Testimony: It’s a word that should be familiar to anyone who grew up in the church. As early as the second grade, I can remember my Sunday school teachers coaching us on the importance of our testimony. A testimony was supposed to be something deeply personal. It was the story of how God came into our lives and rescued us.
The trouble was, my friends and I quickly discovered our spiritual memoirs were pretty boring. In the past, we’d listened to Christians recount how God had delivered them from drug addiction, alcoholism, divorce, a life of crime, etc. The worst thing any of us had done was accidentally stay out after curfew. Who was going to be drawn to Christ by that? Sadly, this mindset persists among many believers today, the idea that our testimony must be extreme to be effective.
However, Matthew Crawford believes our experiences have more to offer than we realize. In a recent article for Ethics and Religious Liberty Comission, Crawford offers several reasons why even a common testimony can be amazing. Below, you’ll find two of his remarks supplemented with two observations of my own.
- Christians have passed from death to life (John 5:24)! You were justly bound for an eternity in hell, and now you will enjoy face-to-face knowledge of your Creator and Savior forever. The difference between those two realities is immeasurably greater than the difference between the sinful behavior of a drug dealer and the sinful behavior of a ‘well-behaved’ but still unregenerate kid who was forced to attend church. As we share testimonies, the goal is not to compare our previous former lives, but to compare who we were with who we are now.”
- God wants you to be a neighbor (Mark 12:31). God is not looking for people to move mountains, He can do that on his own.Instead, God wants us to invest in the lives of those around us. You might think there’s nothing special about being someone’s friend, someone’s coach, someone’s teacher, but these relationships can make a real and lasting change. You don’t need a wild testimony to lead someone to Christ, the quality of your actions will give your story all the meaning it needs.
- “You have been sealed and indwelled by the Holy Spirit; God himself lives in you (Eph. 1:13)! Rather than being separated from God by sin or relating to God through the vicarious ministry of another (as Old Covenant believers did), God himself lives within you. He guides you into all truth, convicts you of sin, prays for you when you don’t know what to pray, comforts you and empowers you for ministry.”
- Little things can change the world (Luke 17:6). In the book of Mark, Jesus and his disciples witness a poor widow give two copper coins to the temple. Upon seeing this, Jesus declares she has given more to God than anyone else. In another story, the disciples are tasked with feeding five thousand people, yet all they have are five loaves of bread and two fish offered up by a small boy. In both cases, Jesus demonstrates his ability to take our meager offerings and turn them into something spectacular. The same is true for our testimonies. If we simply speak the truth, God will do the rest.
Don’t be afraid to share your story, no matter how boring it may seem. For with God, even the humblest offering can change the course of the future.