Reading Time: 12 minutesEleven Keys To A Powerful Personal Testimony
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Rev 12:11)
Sometimes we Christians can be very shy about giving someone a personal testimony. We too often fall into the religionist snare of thinking that if we have the most correct truth, or doctrine, that this is what will qualify both ourselves and others for heaven the personal testimony about Christ in our life becomes stagnant in the face of doctrinal pressure that we deem as so essential, that it will somehow overshadow the Cornerstone of our faith. Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone.
I saw a documentary this week called Amish Grace. A true story of a milk truck driver who shot ten Amish girls to death in their little, one room school house in Pennsilvania a number of years ago. It brought me to tears to just see how brutal he was, and how forgiving they were. There is an amazing testimony of Jesus Christ in this story. The father of one of the little girls killed had gone to the home of the man who killed his daughter and explained to that man’s wife and kids, saying: “we are sorry for your loss.” They explained how they believed that Mat 6:14 spoke about “as you forgive, you will be forgiven. It doesnt talk about “if” we forgive. Only “as we forgive.”
Then the Amish man said that they wanted to help the family of the man who had butchered their children. Because now they were without a father. Truly, this story is a testament to Christ in the life. And thats really all that a personal testimony really is. Everyone who names the name of Christ should have all kinds of experiences with Him to tell others about. Enclosed in this weekly email are 11 Keys To A Powerful Personal Testimony.
Eleven Keys To A Powerful Personal Testimony.
1/ Don’t Glamorize Sin
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; (1 Pet 3:15)
Don’t glamorize your wicked past, by telling others all about it’s special pleasures, or how wicked you used to be, or how you did such and such but “got away with it.” If you are bragging about you, then its not about Jesus, its just about you. You should emphasize the emptiness, the guilt, and the misery that you experienced, as a result of sin.
NOTE: it is not necessary that a person have a sinful past in order for you to give a personal testimony for Christ; because Jesus who knew no sin, was of course, the most effective soul winner ever!
2 Cor 5:21 ‘For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Our personal testimony is the story about how this has happened with us.
2/ Avoid Meaningless Expressions
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, (2 Tim 1:7-8)
Meaningless expressions could include such things as:
“Since I came into the message,” or “after I came to the truth.”
Instead of these types of expressions, you might try something like this:
“After I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, I……”
3/ Don’t Be Wordy
And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Rev 2:26)Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, (2 Tim 1:8)
Make your testimony short and to the point. You should be able to give a very good testimony in just three minutes or less. Just a few sentences No long, flowery sermons needed. Short and sweet makes it quite natural to fit into everyday conversations with family, friends, neighbours, coworkers. For example
“Yes, I know what its like. My wife died last year, and it was really hard. But one thing she said to me just before she died still provides a little light for me. I asked her at one point if she only had five minutes left and could only say one more thing to me, what would she say?” And without hesitation, my wife replied and said “I was loved.” Thats the kind of personal testimony that will help you to personally and intimately identify with people who are grieving over lost loved ones. It is not always needed to give someone a doctoral dissertation or the correct doctrine, because its Jesus that we want to connect people to.
4/ Never Speak Critically Of Other Churches
“speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,” (Eph 5:19)And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED AND THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe and therefore speak, (2 Cor 4:13)
Hatred and bigotry are two very big very hungry beasts and they will eat up enough of your heart until there is no room for love. As Christians, all with the same Jesus, we must exercise great caution and restraint when addressing other denominations or faith groups.
Even when you are right, most times, just don’t do it. Jesus spent very little time criticizing other religions, and thats how we should do it too. You don’t even really need to mention a specific denomination into which you were born, or what denomination you are a part of now, or what denomination you think is “wrong.” It might come up in a conversation, but there’s no need to make a point of it. No need to make a specific drive against any other faith group. Its just not usually done in the Bible. There is no need, if we know Christ, as it is our privilege to do. Always redirect the conversation back to Jesus. Most of the time, it would likely be better to not mention denominations for any reason, in your initial testimony, or in your daily, Christian witness to people. Later there will always be a more appropriate time and place to share such details.
A testimony about your specific Church should always be built upon your initial personal testimony. It is usually more appropriate for your initial or personal testimony to mention denominations very briefly, but for this kind of initial testimony, it is often much better to simply say things like “my Church family.” Our sole object should be to just to attract people to Jesus Christ. And your personal experience with Him.
“What we have seen and heard and handled of the word of life…” (1st John 1:1-3)
5/ Never Give A Long List Of The Sacrifices
“2 Cor 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”I will mention the loving kindnesses of the LORD And the praises of the LORD, According to all that the LORD has bestowed on us, And the great goodness toward [me], Which He has bestowed on [me], according to His mercies, According to the multitude of His loving kindnesses. (Isa 63:7)
Listing all of those things that you have had to sacrifice since becoming a Christian, or of the many things you had to give up, or of the hardships you have had to face is only a very small part of your testimony. What are such things, when compared to the “eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor 4:17) that is every Christian’s reward?
The best policy is always to emphasize the positive benefits of being a Christ-follower:
“Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phillipians 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
6/ Be Specific
“So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.” (Neh 8:8)Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul. (Psalms 66:16)
People tend to forget generalities; but they will remember specifics.
For example, instead of saying things like “my new life in Christ is so wonderful,” try telling the person exactly what it is thats so wonderful. “It is a wonderful thing to go to bed at night, knowing that if I don’t wake up in the morning, that I will still wake up on the resurrection morning. And then I’ll live forever with all my lost loved ones.”
Instead of saying “I have such peace;” try explaining exactly what you mean by that. “My husband is a health care worker; and I know his work is very dangerous sometimes; but since we both became Christians, I have come to rest in the fact that he is in God’s hands. If he were to lose his life in an accident on the job, or by catching some disease; I know that that will not be the end of the story, because there will be a resurrection when Jesus comes again; and then we will be united forever. Maybe thats why the Psalmist says “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5). For some of us, that morning will be the resurrection morning.”
7/ Identify With People
“I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:14)”we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.” (Dan 9:5)
Notice that Daniel actually said “we” when he said “we have sinned.” Daniel included his own name on that list! He didnt pretend he was any better because he “had the truth.”
Identify those areas whereby you have something in common with the person your are talking to. Use only elements from your personal experience that will be more likely to enable people to somehow see themselves in that part of your life experience. I think its a physical law of life that whenever a person sees similarities in their life with your life, they will be much more likely to accept or understand the solution or answer that you have personally found in Jesus. Mention a brief account of some traumatic experience from your life story, for example: loss of job, moving, sickness, death in the family, war, etc. Making mentions of these events at the right time to the right person, and in the right way is what Jesus did and we are to follow His example. Anything you mention that the other person/people you are talking to have in common, will serve to draw you closer and to build bridges, rather than doctrinal walls. Doctrine is never to be made a barrier between us and coming to Christ, “just as we are.” (John 6:37).
The bad stuff from your life may have actually prepared you “just for such a time as this,” (Esther 4:14, Rom 8:28), or it may have played some other important role in your life that led you to Christ:
“There are many people of good minds, who are intelligent in regard to the Scriptures, whose usefulness is greatly hindered by their defective method of labor. Some ministers who engage in the work of saving souls, fail to secure the best results, because they do not carry through with thoroughness the work that they began with so much enthusiasm. Others are not acceptable because they cling tenaciously to preconceived notions, or erroneous doctrine, making these prominent, and thereby failing to conform their teachings to the actual needs of the people. Many have no idea of the necessity of adapting themselves to circumstances, and meeting the people where they are. They do not identify themselves with those whom they wish to help and elevate to the true, Bible standard of Christianity.”
8/ Emphasize The Friendliness
Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! (1 Chron 16:8)For you will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. (Acts 22:15)
Can you talk about the friendliness and hospitality that you have found, or that you recall, from your current, or a past church family? You may not currently attend any church at the moment, but what is the best experience of one you can remember? Because many people are lonely and isolated socially, the very mentioning of warmth or friendliness will often strike a responsive chord. Stress the great comfort you have from belonging – even if just in an online community.
“God will test and prove his people. One sacred truth after another will be brought to bear upon their hearts, close and cutting, until their faith will be purified and tried like gold, until all their dross will be purged away, and Jesus will present them unto his Father without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. We must overcome through trials and sufferings, as Jesus overcame. We must not shun the cross or the suffering part of religion. The language of the heart should be,
“Let me know the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. Let me suffer with him that I may reign with him.”
9/ Always Be Kind And Tactful
My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. (Psalms 71:15)
Its never a good idea to appear self-righteous. In deciding on what to say or what not to say, consider the background of the person you are talking with about your testimony. Remember, that speaking about Jesus to anyone who is not committed to Him some how might cause them a lot of embarassment; especially if you do it in fornt of others. And this kind of tactless approach can only serve to hinder the cause of God through your “testimony.” Use tact and common sense in such situations. The most important thing is to be natural in your approach, to be open and honest; but don’t be over-bearing or judgmental.
Jesus had a wise purpose in making use of so many parables by which to teach the same important truths. All classes were before him, for it was a place where many different people met in the pursuit of their business or in their journeys. By using a variety of illustrations he succeeded in reaching many minds. The parable of the sower and that of the wheat and tares, applied to all. The fields were before them, and the laborers scattering the seed, or harvesting the earlier grain. Also the mustard that grew so luxuriantly about them furnished a lesson for all.
In order to press home his truths more closely, Jesus also spoke other parables to suit particular cases. The searcher for riches represented a large class, who could not but be struck by the parable of the hidden treasure. And the leaven, buried in the meal, while it was an illustration that could be understood by all, brought home the truth with added power to the minds of the women, who knew so well the action of the leaven upon the meal, and were thus enabled to draw a forcible comparison between that and the workings of God’s grace upon the human heart. Jesus overlooked no one in his teachings, and the humblest were remembered with tender pity and fervent, unfeigned love.
10/ Other Positive Factors
I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, And will not be ashamed. (Psalms 119:46)
What other positive factors are there which you could weave into your personal testimony might include something about the love and harmony that Jesus can bring into the home circle, and the family life; or perhaps the relief from guilt or hopelessness that God’s forgiveness and comfort can bring. perhaps read or recite Psalms 31:1-2, or Psalms 51:1-10. You could also tell about the confidence with which a person can face old age, or other of life’s difficulties, terminal illness, death, etc. With Jesus we do not face these things alone!
Pro 14:26 “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.” Heb 13:5 “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU.”
11/ Pray For Your Countenance
Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance. (Psalms 89:15)
Pro_15:13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
Pro_25:23 The north wind brings forth rain, And a backbiting tongue an angry countenance.
The look on their countenance witnesses against them, And they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves. (Isa 3:9)
Pray for your countenance to radiate Christ’s peace and assurance. let your smile speak the language of heaven. Remember Stephen; just before he was stoned to death:
“and all that sat in the counsel, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face, as if it had been the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:15).
As people listen to your testimony, The Holy Spirit is at work. Not only giving you the words to speak, but also impressing the minds of those to whom you are speaking. Frequently a person’s facial expression will reveal an awakening desire to find that same peace that they are seeing on your face and in your testimony. People will desire to have what you have; if they can see it. Be alert to see this awakening desire, as well as any other signs or opportunities and use these things to lead a precious soul to Christ.
“James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
Personal Testimony Work Sheet
1/ My Life Before I Accepted Christ:
Share this part of your testimony with people in order to identify with them: “I needed help and I found it in Jesus.” (8T pg 321).
2/ How I Became A Christian:
Tell how it happened. if you were brought up in a Christian home, there was still some point at which you gave your life fully to Jesus. Your testimony may resolve around a particular answer to prayer or perhaps some victory in your life that has meant a lot to you; and that has made Jesus real to you: “I found the Bible to be the Voice of God to my soul…” (8T pg 321)
3/ My Life Since I Became A Christian:
Tell how your personal life has changed. (not too personal). Talk about something that you now enjoy in your experience as a result of knowing Jesus. “In Christ, the hunger of my soul has been satisfied…” (8T pg 321)
4/ In Summary:
of your Christian experience, try to use an appropriate Scripture verse that sums up your life, and that will be a precious Bible promise for whomever you may be giving your testimony to. “So everyone may be able through their own experience to set their seal to this, that God is true.” (John 3:33, ARV). “I believe in Jesus. he is to me a divine Saviour.” (8T pg 321).
One of the young Amish girls killed in the story mentioned above had apparently asked the gunman: “shoot me first?” This gave some of the others the chance they need to run away to safety. Then, the gunman said “you girls better pray for me.” And that same girl who said “shoot me first, ” said to the gunman: “I’ll pray for you.” When the girl had finished praying for the gunman, she was shot in cold blood, along with nine other girls. It would seem that it is only when our life is entirely falling apart that we can make our faith real. It is not true faith, if we only have it when things are going well for us.
Amazingly, the entire colony of Amish people came out to the funeral of the gunman to support the family of his wife and kids. Now that is truly AMAZING GRACE. Your personal testimony deserves the same amazing grace. If Jesus is in it; Jesus will be there. (John 1:29, 1 John 1:1-3)