Have you ever thought about all the intricacies that go into making up a person? Each and every one is infinitely more complex than the best example of character development you could find in a fictional work.
It’s fascinating to think that we—who sometimes don’t even understand ourselves—will never truly know the depth of another person, what they met or who happened to them.
We will never see through their eyes or be able to hear their thoughts (1 Corinthians 2:11a), but we can listen to their stories.
Every person is like a book, filled with chapters of the mountains they’ve climbed, valleys they’ve seen, and—for the Christian—how God has delivered and proven Himself faithful through it all.
This is one of the things I am looking forward to most about heaven, the idea of maybe spending the first million years hearing all the stories of how God has and is working.
While we won’t hear nearly as many in this lifetime, we need to hear some.
Satan works every angle to discourage our walk with the Lord, so we need to hear testimonies for encouragement, conviction, and inspiration.
But, if there is going to be any listening, there must be some telling. What has God done in your life? Here are five reasons why you should share your slice of that testimony exalted by the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).
#5 — To minister to yourself
For the longest time, I wanted to cross my arms and defiantly say that a hard season I had to walk through was absolutely pointless, but I can’t seem to turn a deaf ear when the Spirit brings silver linings to mind.
Amidst the latest dense and foggy wood God led me through, nothing but what I knew about Him made sense, so that is what came out as I wrestled with confusion in my journal entries.
Now whenever I flip back in reflection (Psalm 77:11-12), I am automatically led to reflect on how God was bringing comfort in truths about Himself.
“What’s the point of getting better if you’re not going to export what you’ve learned?”-Rick Thomas
Because I exported what God was showing me, I now have a personal way to minister to myself when I’m in a valley or to remind myself of what really matters when I’m on a mountain top.
The testimony of how God brought me through that season is one I can’t deny because I have tangible proof of how dark things got and how the Light was shining through anyway. Read more about the benefits of journaling here.
“If I told you my story, you would hear hope that wouldn’t let go, …love that never gave up, [and] life, but it wasn’t mine. …to tell you my story, is to tell of Him.”
-Big Daddy Weave, “My Story”
#4 — To advise others
As any flight attendant will tell you during the pre-flight run-through of emergency protocols, you first need to take care of yourself before you can effectively help others (hence the previous point), but that’s not the majority of the focus.
God didn’t add another day to your life because you need it but because He is working through you to reach someone else, someone who can only be touched the way they need to be through you.
Part of the reason why our lives end up going the way they do is because our shaping influences uniquely affect us to uniquely affect others. As the president of my university once said, “God does something in us so He can do something through us.”
“Sometimes God redeems your story by surrounding you with people who need to hear your past so it doesn’t become their future.”-Jon Acuff
You are able to see things and speak to things in a way no one else can because of the unique path you have traveled. Your story could therefore be the key that can unlock someone else’s prison.
Mistakes you made, areas where you saw success, or anything in between could help guide someone walking through a scenario you have already seen. Reach out to those people who could use some insight. Be the person you needed when you were younger.
#3 — To comfort others
There are many reasons why bad things happen, and some we may never know, but one of the benefits of suffering is that we are better able to relate to those who go through similar trials. We move from only being able to give what can seem like impersonal cliches to saying, “Hey, I’ve been there. Here’s how God proved good through it.”
“Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted / Watch ’em come alive as soon as you speak hope / You speak love, you speak / You speak life”-TobyMac, “Speak Life”
While I would prefer to not make the conversation about me, sometimes telling your story can transmit hope the hurting wouldn’t be able to see by looking at their circumstances. Sometimes you are assigned a mountain to show others it can be moved.
“Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.”-Morgan Harper Nichols
The president of my university once set out this ministry model in three steps: (1) have trouble, (2) get comfort, (3) comfort others.
#2 — To share the gospel
Every time I read through the journal entries I mentioned earlier, I am filled with passion to go tell others about what God has done in my life, the truths He has shown me. That’s the way it should always be. God is not only good but so good that you want to tell others.
Because we have unique personalities and are differently affected by various shaping influences, we need to be sharing our stories to reach those who are like us. There is someone who will only hear the truth if it comes from you.
Since we as human beings innately care or are curious about other people, your story is an excellent way to share the gospel. People want to hear about the darkness you’ve seen because they want to know how they, like you, can overcome it.
In meeting that human desire, we—like broken mirrors—can point to the ultimate Hope and Satisfaction. Read more about your purpose here.
#1 — For Christ to be magnified
We as believers are filled with the light of Christ. That light must be let out! Whether willingly through a testimony or squeezed out when you are pressed with trials (or both simultaneously). Show them where the light comes from.
“Don’t shine so that others can see you. Shine, so that through you, others can see Him.”-C.S. Lewis
As the band Unspoken sings in their song “Start a Fire,” the light within us should burn so brightly that there’s no doubt or denying that Jesus is the One we need. Our faith should be so strong that it makes nonbelievers, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, question their disbelief in God.
“I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody all about Somebody who saved my soul. Ever since You rescued me, you gave my heart a song to sing. I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus.”-Casting Crowns, “Nobody”
How to tell your story
Take a look at who you are. What is your skill set? What are your passions? Where has God made you strong? Wherever you are gifted, take your story and combine the two.
If you’re a writer, start a blog or write a book. If you are good at editing videos, start a YouTube channel. If you can speak well, start a podcast. If you are good with people, truly listen to those in your life and meet with those you believe the Spirit could use your story in.
God has given you a testimony of how He has worked and moved in your life, now it’s up to you to go tell the world.
“If you believe it / If you receive it / If you can feel it / Somebody testify”-Zach Williams, “Chain Breaker”