Well, I grew up in a Christian home…
Sharing your testimony is a Biblical form of evangelism. When Jesus heals the man tormented by a ‘legion’ of demons, he doesn’t allow the man to become his disciple, but instead he spins him around, pats him on the back, and tells him, “Go home to your own and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19).
However, not all of us feel that we have a story to tell – not like that man’s story. What happens if you grew up in a Christian home, gave your life to Jesus at age 4, and never looked back? Since we’re not necessarily allowed to ‘spice it up’ (i.e. throw in some stories about drugs and sex and stealing) how can we give a compelling account of what the Lord has done for us, and how he has had mercy on us?
Here are a couple of thoughts that might help:
1. Your passion is a story in itself. If Jesus is everything to you, and his love causes your heart to burst in amazement and appreciation; if you have felt the depths of his forgiveness and mercy; if you have ever meditated in wonder on the cross; if you have felt the Father’s embrace – if any of these things are true of you, then you have a story to tell.
It doesn’t matter to me whether a cod liver oil enthusiast came to it at a late age, having spent his former years denouncing it as a vile substitute for real medicine, and then experienced a change of heart and mind at a later stage, or whether he grew up consuming his daily dose and never deviated from the path. All that matters is his enthusiasm. If he’s passionate about it, and can testify how much it has benefitted his life, I’ll listen.
However, if you can’t articulate with any passion what Jesus has done for you, I think you need to start checking your spiritual pulse. Is there any sign of life? Are you really born again?
Those of us who grew up believing, and don’t remember a time when we didn’t believe, have so many reasons to be passionate about and grateful towards Jesus. We have enjoyed grace and favour we didn’t deserve, privileges we didn’t choose, protection we weren’t worthy of. And we know Jesus now and can speak about him with enthusiasm and passion now.
2. Your parents’ story is your story. My younger brother pointed this out to me just yesterday, and I thought is was such a great insight it had to be worth blogging about.
Your testimony does not begin with your childhood, it goes further back than that. (I don’t necessarily mean that we need to start before the foundation of the world, but you could go there if you wanted to.) The testimony of me and my brothers really begins in the 1960s, long before we were born. Our parents (and grandparents on my mother’s side) have their stories of how God rescued them, and these stories are part of our stories. I’m a Christian partly because of the powerful influence of my parents, and so my testimony begins far back, when Jesus rescued them.
Some Jewish people, even to this very day, would tell their testimony like this. “We were slaves in Egypt, and God rescued us…” The stories of our forefathers are part of our story.
So, perhaps it’s time to sit down with your parents, if possible, and ask them how they came to faith? Telling your testimony may well begin by telling theirs.