This is not some mind blowing new discovery, or topic, but maybe a different look at what we have all read or heard previously. You know, your testimony is your best witness, or just share what God has done. Possibly, for you, it is "just show the love of Jesus in your actions". We have all heard it, and it rings true today, possibly each Sunday, somewhere, someone is saying "people will want what you have just by the way you act", and "the best way to evangelize the lost is to just tell them your own testimony"!
Really? How is any of the above working for you? Are people running up to you asking why you act the way you do? When you tell someone your testimony do they immediately want to "get saved"? As a matter of fact, have you, in your entire life, had someone approach you because they wanted to become a "Christian"? Has anyone declared salvation after you told them how great God is and what He has done for you? My guess is the answer is no, and if so, few and far between! Why you ask?
Have you ever considered "why" anyone would want to be a part of Christianity, or better yet, get "saved"? Seriously, think about it. For the non follower, (I typically don't use non believer as the majority believe), if we go by the Word of God, and even if not, our lives, how many would really want to be a part of something that is possibly the hardest thing they could ever do? The Bible tells us to expect suffering, none of the apostles, or even Jesus Himself, lived a "blessed" life. How about you? My life is by far anything fancy. Christians are typically known as the rudest, most judgmental, hypocritical people that no one wants to be around. We have a set of rules to follow, or so most believe, that don't go well with the politically correct crowd. We hate the gay population, and do not want women to have the right to kill their child. Sound like something most would want to be a part of?
If sharing our testimony is the best way to reach a non-follower, what exactly are we sharing? Not simply in words, but in our walk with Christ? What is it that others see, or hear, if we are actually telling others, that is so beneficial that would cause them to consider Christianity?
Let's start with our walk first, or actions, that others witness in us that is so compelling. I'm a pretty nice guy, I open doors for people, listen if they have a problem, and even take part in church "outreach" events. I know many do a lot more, such as volunteer at the local nursing home, or the homeless shelter, or hospital visits. Please do not get me wrong, all of these are nice things, but are they leading anyone to Christ? Have you ever noticed how many others are doing the same thing? Many of whom aren't Christians, but nice people. So it would seem our "serving" isn't having much impact, as everyone is doing it. In fact, we have been doing it since I was a child. So, let's see what we would say to someone, or how we would share our testimony verbally.
Is it inviting them to church? How about a special program, VBS, revival, hot dog sale. . . you get the point. Is that it? Maybe we tell them they need to get saved so they can go to heaven. Or how good God has been to us, assuming we are giving God credit for the good stuff in our lives. Oh, my favorite. . . that we are "blessed" and they could be too if only they would accept Jesus into their hearts. I know most, if not all, of this sounds extremely negative. I do not mean it to be negative, I am simply trying to make a point that sharing our testimony may just not be the "best" way to reach someone. Seriously, think about the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims, etc., all doing the exact same things we are doing, all claiming to be right. What if the answer to everything you say, or how we act would be: that's true for you but not for me. Then what? We all can not be right. How do you know you are right? Many of us very well could be wrong--in many areas; including myself, as I do not, and never will have, all of the answers!
Consider this; have you ever asked yourself why you are "saved", or why you believe in God? Is it because that's what your family did, or taught you to do? Or maybe because you want to go to heaven? Did you wake up one morning and say, "I think I will get saved today"? My prayer is that none of these apply to anyone. In fact, I would hope that you came to realize, with the move of the Holy Spirit, that you are lost and in need of a Saviour. You see, we must first realize we are lost, and need, yes need, to be saved. Many do not understand what lost means, or what they are lost from. Thus, the first thing all of us need to understand is that we are indeed lost, and in need of Jesus. (For the purposes here, the impact of the Holy Spirit is a given). This is why I often say we need to get many professing followers lost so we can get them saved! Once we understand this concept, then it is time to make disciples, or teach and train followers, that our testimony may be a wonderful experience, but in reality, an experience can only be shared and does not typically have a life saving impact. Someone needs to understand in the heart, soul and MIND, as instructed in scripture, why they are saved, and be able to share it with others! If we don't know why ourselves, how can we answer the tough questions such as, the problem of suffering, the reliability of the Bible, miracles, or the resurrection?
So ask yourself, why am I saved? What did I base my decision on? Was it emotions, family, tradition, or facts and evidence? Did someone's testimony lead me to understand I was lost and in need of a Saviour? Share your testimony, definitely, but know the facts and evidence! It may not lead to someone accepting Christ on the spot, but they sure won't be able to tell you it may be true for you but not for them.
John Mays is the Regional Director for the states of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. He is also the Chapter Director at Marshall University. Contact him at johnmays.ratiochristi.org
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