Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Life Before Encountering Jesus

My husband is passionate about witnessing. In every sermon, he enthusiastically reminds listeners that we all need to be in a relationship with Jesus as Savior, Lord, and Friend. He encourages us to help others get to know Him.

People get more excited when we are passionate about what we are sharing. Passion involves strong feelings and intense emotions. When we share our testimony, God wants us to be passionate about what we have to say so that our stories stir the depths of emotion in our readers.

The goal of dedicated, skilled artists is to strongly and favorably stir the emotions of every person who sees their paintings. God would have us become like a masterful artist at sharing our testimony. He wants us to paint the best picture we can in the minds of our listeners, using words as our "brush strokes". Why? Because our testimonies are the most important and exciting stories we have to share and are the most effective witnessing tool at our disposal.

When we ask, God will teach us how to share our testimonies in such a way that they will pierce the soul of every person who reads them. The task can seem daunting, even impossible. The challenge is to pour the stories from our hearts onto the paper, mixing details with passionate emotion.

Often getting started is the biggest challenge. How should our testimony begin? Where does the story of my encounter with Jesus start? The first step is to share a bit about life before becoming a Christian. Some areas to cover within this section include the following:

Spiritual life: What was the spiritual environment I was raised in? How was my family involved in the life of the church? What did I think about God when I was growing up? How did my spiritual beliefs affect my everyday life? What questions did I have about God?

Challenges: How did I feel about myself? What struggles did I face? How did my family life impact me? What challenges felt beyond my control? What habits was I involved with that were unfulfilling or even enslaving?

Priorities: What brought me satisfaction? Where did God rank in importance? What was most important to me? What was my outlook on life? What were my goals?

Prayerfully pondering these areas of our lives can starkly reveal God’s hand on us even before we fully knew Him.

For me, before I encountered Jesus, God was a distant being with a big calculator who watched what we did and kept a running tab--if I did good things, He added to my tab; if I messed up, He subtracted. Things like going to church, helping others, being kind, etc were added to my column in God's ledger; selfishness, hatred, rudeness, etc deducted from my total. I believed that at the end of my life, whether I went to Heaven or Hell depended on if I had been "good enough". How very wrong I was!

What was your "before Jesus" image of God?

Stop back Sunday for Part Four: Sharing How We Encountered Jesus!


©2015 Pamela D. Williams