What’s your biggest fear? Is it dying? Is it being eaten by a shark? My wife’s greatest fear is being squeezed to death. (Side note: I know this is bad, but I like to mess with my wife from time to time about this and get her in what I call the Boa Constrictor. I wrap my legs around her and slowly start tightening them, while I hiss like a snake. She absolutely hates it.) So anyway, back to fear… mine is probably speaking in front of others.
I frequently get asked to speak to youth groups, churches or teams.
It’s a true blessing and an amazing privilege. I’ve come to really enjoy it. When I first starting doing it, I felt a lot of pressure. I thought I had to say the right things at the right time in the right way. My whole life I’ve felt the pressure to say the right things. But, as I’ve grown I’ve found so much freedom in saying exactly what’s on my heart.
I still feel pressure, but I’m continuing to learn that God’s in control. He’s the one making the world spin, the blood pump through our veins, and giving us our every breath.
Some of you may know (I’ve written about it before) that I was a pretty screwed up teenager.
My story is one littered with rebellion, anger, and a life ravaged by the effects of drugs and alcohol. People love hearing those stories. Right? The more screwed up you were, the more likely you’ll get asked to speak. The more likely people will want to hear your testimony. These kinds of testimonies have a great shock and awe factor to them. People tell me all the time, “man, you’ve got such a great testimony.” And usually it’s followed by, “mine sucks” or “mine’s not very good.” I hate when people say that. Stop saying that!
But peeps are right that I have a great testimony!
It’s true, I do. I have the greatest testimony. And so do you! To be honest, a testimony really isn’t even about us anyway. If you follow Jesus and have put your trust and faith in Him, you have the greatest testimony EVER. You see, our testimony is Jesus. He’s who we’re pointing to when we tell others our story. It’s not about how big of an idiot we were or what gang we were involved in. It’s not about how many times we stole our parents car in the middle of the night without a license to go cruising with our friends. Not by any means. It’s not even about how we learned our lesson or the good we try to do now. It’s about Jesus. It’s ALL about Jesus.
Why do we elevate some testimonies over others?
We’re all, as I like to say, jacked up. In more ways than one. I know I sure as heck am. We’re fallen, sinful people. Maybe my story does sound cool. But does it really? Think about it for a moment. Do you think my parents enjoyed dealing with their enraged and violent son? Do you think all those people I abused, used and hurt thought it was cool? What about my sister? Do you think seeing her older brother waste his life and treat everyone that loved him like dirt was cool? No, no, and no.
Yes, I do praise Jesus for what He’s done in my life and heart. I know that this is what most people are focusing on, the fact that I was blind but now I see. That He saved such a wretch as me. Hallelujah is right! But, my point is that we need to remember what life’s about and who we live life for. Life is not about glorifying someone else’s past or ranking testimonies. It’s about Jesus. We all have a testimony. You have one. And it’s GREAT! Share it with confidence and faith, knowing that you, like all of us, are sinner’s saved by grace because of the unfathomable love of a Jesus.
Matt Chandler says this, “If you’re a Christian who thinks you’re missing out or have missed out on something by not experimenting with drugs or sleeping around, take it from people who know: heroin addictions and STD’s are not the grand prizes of life, nor does their testimony drama outdo the sweet goodness of God that comes shining through your G-rated, nice-girl, nice-guy salvation story” (Recovering Redemption p.63).
My testimony used to go something like this.
I was really screwed up, Jesus changed my heart, and now I have my crap together. But now I see it like this: I was a dumbarse, Jesus changed my heart, and I’m still screwed up but hopefully I’m a little less of a dumbarse because of His love, grace and mercy. The Bible reminds us, “anyone who belongs to Jesus has become a new person. Our old life is gone and a new life has begun” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Yes we are still sinners, but we have new life!
Have you ever written down your testimony?
If not, I encourage you to. Doing this has really helped and prepared me to share my faith and love for Jesus with boldness and clarity. Remember, as Christians, we’re called to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks for the hope that we have” (1 Peter 3:15). Always remember that your story is a gift from God. Telling your story is an incredible reminder that Jesus changed your life and that He wants to change other lives as well. And He is. He’s always working!