April 1, 2016
Last month we suggested reaching out to unbelievers in our centers of influence using a 3-Step Plan:
Praying that God will open doors to build relationships with them.
Caring for them by serving them through acts of kindness.
Sharing God’s love verbally by telling them the reason for the hope that is in us.
Many have reduced the Good News of God’s love to a step-by-step “How to” booklet for attaining salvation. However, what is often missing is one’s personal story of God’s amazing love and His longing to have a personal relationship with those who do not know Him.
Whether one is enjoying mountaintop experiences with great success and unlimited opportunities or struggling in the valleys of life with repeated failures and seemingly no way out, they need to know that God sees, knows, understands and cares. He is there to celebrate with them in their good times bringing meaning, purpose and fulfillment to their lives and He is there to minister to their hurts, provide wise counsel and meet their needs during the difficult days.
To verbally share God’s incredible love with passion and purpose in a most effective and winsome way, tell your own personal story (testimony) of what your life was like before knowing God, how He drew you to Himself and your walk with Him today. The scriptures tell us to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). Jesus told a man He had healed to “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you" (Mark 5:19).
If we love God and desire to bring Him glory, we will share our testimony. He is glorified when we speak of His character, conduct, power and grace. If we love people and have a concern for their present and future life, we will share God’s love with them. Ask God to provide a bridge during your conversations to share your personal story. It has the potential to change a person’s life for eternity when the Holy Spirit opens their hearts to hear the “Good News.” It’s only natural to share exciting happenings in our lives such as special occasions, unusual adventures or life-changing experiences. Your own personal story may qualify for all three: special, unusual and life-changing.
In Acts, Chapter 22, the Apostle Paul provides us a great example to follow when sharing our testimony:
He spoke of things in ways in which they could identify. For you, expose areas of your life in which they can relate. For you, it could be experiencing success but lacking contentment, always busy but lacking purpose, selfishness, a sinful habit, lack of purpose, anger, pride or loneliness.
He became a follower of Christ because he had a problem--persecuting the Son of God and His followers. For you, the problem might be going your own way and refusing to acknowledge God or other specific sins (Romans 3:23). God, in His love, provided the solution and offered you a gift (Romans 5:8; 6:23). Your response included confession, repentance, believing and receiving (1 John 1:9; Acts 3:19; Romans 10:9-10).
He began to live his life serving others in response to God’s unconditional love. In selfless humility, he shared what Christ had done for him. For you, it may be sharing how God has given you purpose or helped you address sensitive areas in your life. If there are areas where you struggle, be honest and state that you are a work in progress and how God is helping you to overcome them.
Write out your testimony. Practice telling it to yourself so you are able to share it within a 3-6 minute time frame.
The Lord wants His message, the Good News, to be communicated to all people. He has given us the task to carry it out. Don’t be concerned about whether your listeners have hearts that will respond in faith. God, not you or me, prepares the hearts of people to listen, receive and respond to the “Good News” of His love. He alone grants faith (1 Corinthians 3:6). Sharing our testimonies with this in mind is so freeing and allows us to operate without any fear of failure during the encounter. We share our testimonies, God’s Word convinces, the Holy Spirit convicts and we trust God for the results.