Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What IS a Faith Story?

Photo from wjof.com

I love hearing a person's testimony! For many years Dick and I have taught Confirmation and Membership classes at our churches. We are about halfway through the classes with this year’s confirmation group. As part of the process for joining the church, we ask that each participant share how they came to know Jesus as their Savior. The accounts of their unique encounters with Jesus always warm my heart and thrill my soul. We serve an awesome God who loves us beyond measure and will go to any lengths to bring us into a right relationship with Him. Those testimonies truly have taken top billing in our ministry.

Each person who has encountered Jesus as Savior has a story of their faith journey. Our story is uniquely our own; no two are alike.  And as long as our testimony points to Jesus, the Holy Spirit can use it to bring others into a right relationship with God.

God's Word gives us many reasons for sharing our testimony:

First, God commands us to share our testimony. Read Matthew 28:19. Jesus said to go and make disciples.

Second, we are to remember what God has done in our lives. Read Psalms 103:2. Sharing what God has done in our lives is the best way for us to remember.

Third, so our faith will be renewed. Read Hebrews 10:32-37. Every time we share what God has done in our lives, our faith is strengthened.

Fourth, when we share our testimony, it encourages others to believe in God and also receive His promises. Read Romans 10:13-14. Sharing our faith gives others the opportunity to hear about salvation through Jesus.

Fifth, sharing what God has done gives us the opportunity to explain the hope we have. Read 1 Peter 3:15. Many people feel hopeless and are interested in why we have hope despite difficult circumstances.

Waypoint Community Church in Davis, California offers excellent guidelines for what constitutes a testimony:

1. A testimony can be sharing a memorable time when certain spiritual truths became particularly relevant—when concepts moved from head knowledge to heartfelt belief.

2. A testimony can be sharing an unforgettable occasion of rededication or renewed commitment to Jesus.

3. A testimony can be sharing an instance of how God helped me turn away from a particular sin after being made aware of it—addictions, wrong attitudes, misplaced beliefs, sinful lifestyles, etc.

4. A testimony can be sharing circumstances that revealed God’s love and grace and have deepened my appreciation for the cross.

5. A testimony can be sharing how my relationship to God changed—who Jesus is to me and how his Lordship in my life became evident to others.

6. A testimony can be sharing ways in which I developed a “spiritual hunger” to know more about God, to read and study the Bible, to experience true fellowship and conversation with God, or to become involved in missions.

7. A testimony can be sharing how my basic outlook on life was changed by an encounter with God—differences in goals and values regarding money, marriage, pleasures, career, success, security, 
etc.

The key to sharing our faith is that it must be in our "hearts," not just our "heads." Our faith must penetrate every corner of our lives. We must know the truth, it must be real to us, and it must permeate our daily lives in order to impact someone else.

When was the last time you told someone about your journey with Jesus? Click HERE to read mine. This post is part one in a series. Over the next few weeks stop back on Wednesdays and Fridays to learn more tips on sharing your faith story.

Blessings!
Pam

©2015 Pamela D. Williams