Are you embarrassed by your life story? I was.
To boot, I was jealous of people whose testimonies sounded like an Oscar-winning screenplays. Churches are full of them: people who lived on the streets; dealt and did drugs; spent time in prison for theft, assault, or worse; and then accepted Christ, turned their lives around, and now serve God in mission fields near and far. These are people who lead others to Christ through just the recitation of their own salvation story.
My upbringing was… quieter (read “boring”). I was a good kid, made good grades. I grew up in church. Went to a Christian college in my hometown, married a wonderful girl, and got a decent job right out of school. There were a few years where I didn’t go to church, but my the world’s standards most would argue I’m one of “the good ones”. And at times, I’ve hated that.
A few years ago, I was called to give my testimony in church. It would be the first time I’d do so. I’d never even thought about telling the story of my salvation, maybe because I was subconsciously afraid of putting myself to sleep. The evening came, and I stumbled through a five-or-so minute recollection of the steps that eventually led me to the church April and I attended at the time. Looking back now, I realize I didn’t really get the point.
If a testimony is the story of your salvation, and your salvation is a matter of rebirth, then it stands to reason that change should factor somewhere into the tale.
2 Corinthians 5:17: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; the new has come.
I realize now that my testimony isn’t as boring as I thought it was. No one’s is. Not when you pay attention to the parts that really matter.
If you’ve truly come to know Christ as your lord and savior, you will change. And on reflection of the way you were, your testimony should reflect that change. If it doesn’t, you might need to reconsider just how close you really are to your so-called savior.
As for me: salvation has given me courage. I used to be afraid of everything. Everything. I thought everything was going to kill me. I’d get out of breath and worry about having a heart attack. I was afraid of the dark, snakes, heights, monsters in the closet, losing my family, you name it. I can remember being almost reduced to tears as a child when I learned that the universe went on forever. It made me feel so small it just terrified me. Just the thought of it.
Having since come to really and fully accept Jesus as my savior and God the Father as creator of the universe, though, those fears have started to seem sillier and sillier. I can honestly say that I don’t fear death. Can’t say that I’m quite ready to shuffle off, but I know where I’m headed when the time comes and that’s made all the difference.
When I give my testimony now, I don’t talk about how I grew up in church but stopped going when I went to college and then started again. That really is boring. But, luckily, that’s not the story of my salvation. (A lot of people confuse religiosity with spirituality and salvation, which is also bad, but that’s for another post.) The story of my salvation is how Christ has given me confidence. He’s made me bold and is helping me grow and live a fuller, more joyous life.
Good stories are about change. Make your testimony a good story.