Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15-16)
I've given my testimony, numerous times. I do it as part of ministry. I tell people what kind of life I had before Christ, I tell them what kind of life I have now. I speak of miracles, healing, love and grace. My testimony is written down nicely so when I get up in front of a whole bunch of people, I remember it all, and I don't get too emotional over it. It's a messy story - so I need structure and focus otherwise I ramble.
This is the way I do it. I go to youth groups, women's groups etc and I tell my testimony. Not everyone has that opportunity. Not everyone gets invited to be a guest speaker at some event so their story gets heard. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be ready to give it.
Peter said "Be ready at ALL times".
So if I asked you, what's your testimony, what would you tell me? Would you um and ahh? Would you tell me it's too complicated? Would you tell me that it's nothing fabulous and not worth telling?
Now that last reason is a legit response. Some people believe that because they weren't drug addicts, drinking bourbon every night, with a different woman every night and then when they were eight years old, they gave their heart to Jesus - that their testimony isn't good enough.
Be glad you weren't a vegemite addict! Be glad you didn't inject chocolate topping into your veins. Be glad you didn't ruin your body! Be glad that you gave your life over to Jesus as a young person and be VERY glad you haven't turned back! Be glad that you didn't have the colorful background some people had. Your testimony is just as powerful! I admire old people who say they gave their life to Jesus when they were 5 years old, and 85 years on, they still are still going on for Jesus. Amazing testimony!! Blows me away!
Everyone's testimony speaks to different people. People identify with a person who has had similar experiences to themselves. I can speak into the lives of sexual abuse victims. I can speak into the lives of brokeness. But there is no way a child would understand my testimony or relate. What lives can you speak into?
Jesus saved you from sin. Just as he saved me. Jesus died on the cross for you. He died for me too. See? So far our testimony is the same! The bones of everyone's testimony is the same... the details differ though.
So how can we be ready to share?
Get the story straight in yourself. There is no point umming and ahhhing over details. Write your testimony down and work out what the story actually is. What was your life like before Jesus? How did you receive Jesus? What changed in your life afterwards?
Read your testimony often so you learn it, so it becomes natural for you to share it and that it is in your heart. Because I can promise you, when you are asked to "explain the hope in you" - it wouldn't be appropriate for you to pull out your paper and read it. You need to be able to share naturally and easily with the other person.
And the most important part of this scripture - share your testimony with "gentleness and respect". Don't shove your testimony down people's throats. If they don't want to hear it, respect that. You don't need to pull the pulpit out when someone asks you and preach at them. Share as if they asked you where you got your shoes from. I know it's exciting for new Christians and they just want to tell everybody what God has done... but remember in your excitement that gentleness and respect will drive your testimony further. People don't get their backs up, they will hear what you have to say better and they respond better.
Thankyou God for saving me and rescuing me from a life of destruction and pain. Thankyou for the opportunities you give me to share our story. I pray that you will keep providing those opportunities and open doors for me to keep sharing.
I pray that everyone who reads this will take on board the importance of being ready to share and with gentlessness and respect.
Prepare the hearts of the people who will hear and as we sow seeds that the harvest will be fruitful!
Thankyou Father, Amen.