Always Be Prepared to Give an Answer

I was at work one day.  Working on a customer’s computer and I was there about an hour.  She quietly watched as I progressed through the tasks at hand.  Every now and then, she would ask me a question about her computer or my work related experience.  I courteously answered and explained as best I could.  She was an intelligent person, so I didn’t want to assume that she didn’t understand what I was saying, so I asked her questions about her questions, in order to determine what she really wanted to know.

Once I had completed the work and answered her questions, she told me she had two more questions.  I jokingly told her, I would answer as honestly as I could.  She smiled and said, “You’re a Christian aren’t you?”  I told her, “Yes ma’am”.  She said, “I could tell, by the way you act.”  I told her that was an amazing complement, and one I could never forget.  She then asked how I became a Christian.

So I sat down and told her my story.  When I had completed, she told me, you have to tell someone else now.  Your testimony is the most important way to saving someone else, and not enough Christians tell their story these days. I thought that kind of odd that she would say such a thing.  Once I left her office, I could not get her statement out of my head.

I remembered when I was young, and it seemed that everyone was telling their testimony when I went to church, or school, and even in the supermarket.  Now I can’t even remember the last time I heard someone’s testimony at church.  Did we forget?  Did we become afraid?  Did we become complacent?

Remember the scripture says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” (1st Peter 3:15, 1980)  So how do we give our testimony?  Is there some kind of method to convey to others what God has done for us. Is there an example in the bible?

I remembered then, that when I was in Youth For Christ, that part of the discipleship was to show and tell new believers how to share their testimony.  Maybe that is what we have forgotten.  So, I will tell you that there are 3 parts to your testimony that you should make sure you include.  You probably already know them, but I’m gona tell you anyway, just to make sure you know. The 3 parts to a testimony are:

  • Before
  • During
  • After

That seems kinda simple doesn’t it?  Can it be that simple?  Don’t I have to tell everyone my deep dark secrets?  Don’t I have to show them what a terrible person I was?  Don’t I have to confess to everyone I see, what vile and depraved things I did before?  Let’s look at Paul’s example in Acts 26.

In verses 9-11 Paul outlines what his life was like before Christ.  He starts saying, “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” (Acts 26:9) Paul goes on to describe how he acted in general terms, but never confesses specific incidences. He gives enough information so that his audience can identify with the type of person he was before he met Jesus the Messiah.  This should be fairly simple, after all you lived your life, you’re not making it up or embellishing in any way.

So think, what was your life like before Jesus?  What thoughts did you entertain?  What kind of self-serving acts did you do?  What did it drive you to?  How did you feel? What were your insecurities? How did you fool yourself?  Did you try to hide it by abuse… drugs… sex… alcohol?  Did you think that money, education, friends, or work could save you, or make you feel better about yourself?  Did you grow up in a church home and think that it just covered you, or gave you an excuse? Did you even care? A simple summary of this portion of your life is good.

Then Paul moved on in, verse 12-18, and described in detail, how he me the Lord.  Where he was at, what his condition was, what he was thinking, how he felt.  Where were you when the Lord touched you?  When did you experience real Christianity?  Why did you need the Lord?  How did you talk to the Lord?  What did you hear from the Lord?  This portion of your testimony lets the use see how someone can meet the Lord for themselves, it shows the process of accepting Christ and the forgiveness that is there at the throne of mercy.

After Paul explained how he met the Lord.  He immediately told what his life was like now.  The Lord gives us all a command to go forth and testify.  Tell how your life has changed.  Don’t use generic terms like “I’m so blessed now.”  Instead, give specific examples like of how following Jesus has changed your life, restored relationships, given your courage to face the past mistakes.  How life with Jesus has given you the ability to love others.  How studying scriptures has helped to give you a better understanding of God.  Explain the hope you have in the future and in life, because of the faithfulness God has shown you, by example.  What prayers has he answered?  Don’t forget to tell how you are faithful to God.  What changes have you made in your lifestyle, how has those changes benefited your life.  How do you serve God now?  Some of the people you testify to are going to be old friends who have not seen you in a while, and will still remember how you used to be.  This then becomes a re-affirmation of faith.

Take the time today to be alone with God and examine yourself.  Write out your testimony and remember these few points.  There are many different things you can say.  Many different approaches to take.  You need to take the time to find your story and your approach.  Your testimony does not need to be a long drawn out affair.  Keep it simple and short and to the point.  Once you have your draft, then go to a mirror and speak it to yourself, share your testimony with a fellow Christian.  Then take it to the streets.

Yes it will change depending on who you talk to and the circumstances.  You do not need to have some static script memorized.  You don’t need to preach to the individual you are sharing your story with. This is your story of how you met Jesus. Take your time with who you share it with.

Sometimes I talk to someone over a course of months, revealing parts of my testimony as the situation arrives.  Cultivating a relationship with the individual is very important.  The important thing is to share.  Remember, it is the Spirits job to convict and to lead to Jesus.  Your job is just to share what you know.  You know Jesus.

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