Early in my ministry, I was a Disciple Now Leader for a group of middle schoolers. During the first night after sharing about myself, I had an eighth-grader who asked me a question that I have never forgotten. “Do I need to do drugs and alcohol so that I can have a powerful testimony?” To say I was surprised would be an understatement. But I knew this was something the student had pondered for some time because as they heard my testimony, the student didn’t hear of a struggle with either substance. My testimony is about growing up in a Christian home and coming to Christ at an early age. There are moments of failures and moments that I allowed my sinful nature to have more control than I desired, but my testimony that I shared that night is not one of a life addicted to drugs until God turned me around.
This eighth-grade student desired God to use them. They wanted to be effective in reaching people for Christ. I told them how they could have a powerful testimony, one that people would listen to and hear the powerful working of God. That testimony would be one in which they trusted and depended on God at all times—not giving in to the desires of the flesh but the desires of God.
Unfortunately, I think many people have the same idea as this eight-grader had years ago when it comes to their testimony. They fear that because they have not had a dramatic turnaround in their life, no one wants to hear from them. I will admit the church does not help people understand this principle. The church often celebrates the person with a dramatic testimony.
It is powerful when we hear how God has reached down to a prodigal son or to a person who once persecuted the church and now is a leader in the church, as in the case with Paul. But all testimonies are powerful because they are proclaiming the power of Christ in their life. Don’t forget, there is as much power in testimonies like David or Joseph, who gave their lives to God at an early age and lived for God despite what the world threw at them. We should celebrate all testimonies, especially those who have allowed God to work in their life so that they do not fall into the great temptations of this world.
We must not forget the Bible reminds us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, CSB) No one is perfect; we all need Jesus regardless if you are sitting at rock bottom in life or feel like you are a good person. Either way, you need the grace that only comes from Jesus Christ.
Once a person recognizes their need for Christ and commits their life to Christ, they, along with all believers, are responsible for proclaiming the Gospel. (Matt. 28:19-20, Mark 16:15, Acts 1:8).
I hope you can articulate your testimony. (Your life before Christ, How you came to realize your need for Christ, and How Christ has changed your life.) I pray that you share your testimony regularly and often to those who need to hear.