Do You Need A Dramatic Testimony?

How should your testimony go? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I really don’t care for testimonies. I think too often they go all into “me, me, me.” Personally, my struggle is I spend enough time focusing on myself anyway. I want to go to people and say “Enough about what you think God is doing in your life. (You’re probably wrong anyway.) I want to hear about what you’re doing in the life of God.”

Recently, I had a question come to me where someone was concerned about their salvation. Generally, when someone asks me a question like “How do you know you’re a Christian?” I don’t answer that question. There’s another question behind that. I asked “Why are you doubting you are?” The answer? “Because people give these really dramatic testimonies at my church and I’ve never had a major change in my life like that.”

There is a great danger when we give a testimony that we will make it greater than it is. Greg Koukl of Stand To Reason has talked about how if you played in a band in college before you came to Christ, you were suddenly a disenchanted rock star. If you smoked some marijuana before you came, you were a hardcore drug addict who got delivered.

Let me be clear on what I am not saying. I am not saying that some people lack a powerful testimony of something amazing happening in their lives like overcoming a powerful addiction or being healed of a deadly disease. I am not saying that one should never use a testimony at all. I am saying it should not always be a go-to. You need to have other reasons why you believe God is real and Jesus rose from the dead beyond your personal experience or what happens when you encounter another person with a similar experience from another position?

I tend to not talk about my divorce when meeting with people, but when I meet someone who is going through a hard time, especially through a divorce, it’s entirely relevant for me to share so they can know there is a fellow traveler. I also use it when I meet someone who is just struggling with rejection. There is a time and a place.

The danger is that many Christians don’t have a dramatic life change. We live in a culture where there is still a strong background Christianity. They are raised and taught Christian morals and don’t really deviate from them. Then they become Christians. Do they have a dramatic testimony to the world? No. There is likely no major life change. It’s just a progression of what they were already doing.

In our Christian culture, we often try to out-spiritualize one another. I think this is one way the talk on hearing the voice of God being seen as normative influences us. People think “Oooh. I need to know that I’m doing that!” and soon they’re listening to any subjective feeling and thinking that’s God and they’re about to find His will for their lives.

Also notice again, the emphasis is “Me, me, me.”

You don’t need to have a major testimony. You need to have a life of faithfulness and holiness. You need to be looking to grow in your faith every day. I’m not saying you will notice something every day, but you will look back and notice eventually. Few of us growing up would check our height every day, but eventually we reached a point where “Hey. I am taller than I was now.” Physically, I used to have to look up to my mother for instance. Now physically, she would have to look up to me. When did that happen? I couldn’t tell you a date, but it did.

Christians. Stop trying to make your testimony more glamorous than it is. Make it real. It could be simple, and that could be what someone else in the pew needs to hear. Be people of truth, even in your testimony.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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