I have been thinking about my testimony a lot recently. And if we’re being honest, for years now. When you’re in Christian circles the question usually comes up at some point:
“What’s your story?”
I’ve always felt that my testimony isn’t that special… I grew up in a Christian home, going to a Christian school, and going to church on Sundays. For as long as I can remember, God has always been a part of my life.
So, why don’t I like my testimony?
Well, in school and church, I would hear about these wonderful stories of when a person accepts Christ as their Savior, their life is completely transformed. The testimonies that stuck with me always seemed like ones where people had been on a very dark path and had to hit rock bottom in order to put their faith in Christ. These testimonies are so powerful and there’s a distinctiveness between the before and after of a life-altering decision.
I accepted Jesus around the second grade, so rock bottom for me at the time would be not getting an “A” on an assignment. I don’t even fully remember the exact moment when I put my faith in Jesus or the prayer I prayed or if anyone was with me as I prayed. At that point in my life I didn’t have much of a past, so I didn’t feel a huge transformation… I even remember praying “the prayer” a few times, as if it didn’t stick, because I didn’t feel an immediate difference in life. My second grade self was expecting and overnight transformation.
God has been so good in that he has brought women into my life recently that have testimonies similar to mine. It has been so encouraging to hear their stories. God works in countless ways and each of us is different, but each one of us goes through things similar to others because God wants us to be compassionate to those that walk a similar path.
It seems that people who become Christians later in life, remember the details of what lead up to putting their faith and trust in Jesus. As well as how their life changed after that moment. They can clearly see the before Jesus person they were and the after Jesus person they are becoming. Most of my life I haven’t really seen the before and after, since I was pretty young when, by God’s grace, my eyes were opened and I knew I needed Jesus.
So, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been going about my personal testimony all wrong.
I’m learning that my testimony can be fluid instead of static. One moment started it all, but it isn’t just that one moment.
Sure, our testimonies begin with that very important first step of realizing we can’t do this life alone and be welcomed in heaven on our own merit. We need a Savior and that’s the first step. But our testimonies don’t end there. We are living testaments of God’s grace and love and we show that to the world in the day to day informed choices we make because we know Jesus, our Savior.
My life has been tough at times, though some have it more difficult. It has also been at times easy, though some may have it easier. We all have a different path to take and knowing Christ doesn’t guarantee that life will be easier. Likely, since your eyes are opened, life will be more difficult because we see the war that is being waged everyday between the flesh and the spirit. We now have an awareness that we alone cannot handle everything in our own strength.
That has been part of my story. The world tells us as we grow up that we need to become independent. While that is true, I think we bring that thinking into our relationship with Christ. I am still learning how and what it actually looks like to fully depend on Jesus for all my needs. Simple in theory. Difficult in application.
Christianity is not an accessory. It’s not a part-time thing. It is a life-altering, whole-hearted decision to submit to the transforming and redeeming power of Christ.
A friend recently said that our Christian belief needs not be the noun, but the adjective that informs every aspect of our behaviors and actions in every area of life.
First and foremost, I am a Christian. I am a work in progress, but I’m in God’s hands and He will finish the good work that He started in me.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”
Philippians 1:6 NIV