We all have a story of how we came to know Jesus. What's yours?
Don't be put off by thinking that it may not be impressive enough, or seemingly not as interesting as someone else's you know. The truth is, your testimony has great power. No one else can tell your story like you can. They don't know the intricate detail, how it felt, and what it meant to you at that moment. They don't have the passion with which to tell it, and for that reason there is no better person to recount it than you. Our testimonies are an encouragement. Telling them makes us vulnerable, we can't know how others will respond and it may not always be what we had hoped for, but this should not put us off.
In Acts 22 Paul speaks to the people, giving his testimony. Prior to this we see Paul in the temple, where crowds of angry people had been stirred up by the Jews from Asia, when they had heard that Paul was the man teaching everyone, everywhere against the people and the law and this place (Acts 21:28). Paul was dragged out of the temple where the people sought to kill him, however he was instead arrested by the tribune. The tribune wanted to learn the facts about Paul, and due to the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken to the barracks. As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he asked if he could say something, and begged to be permitted to speak to the people (Acts 21:39).
Despite all that was going on, Paul's priority was to speak truth to the people. He took the opportunity, where perhaps some may have thought there was none. An angry mob wanted to kill him, his life was in serious danger, but Paul was never deterred. He addressed the people in the Hebrew language, on the steps to the barracks, and when they heard this they became quiet.
I wonder how we would fare in a situation like this? We may worry about what people would think about us, or whether we would be ridiculed, but how would we feel if our life was being threatened? Do your own experiences stop you from giving your testimony? Taking opportunities is a risk, but it is such a vital thing to do. Personally, giving my testimony - even to those who know me - is hard enough. I write a personal blog and recently published my testimony on it. I really felt that it was a great platform to get my story out there, but I felt unsure about how it would be received. For the most part I won't know if it impacted anyone. Statistics tell me how many people visited the page and if anyone left a comment. Perhaps on some level, writing it down and getting it out for people to see seemed a little easier to me than talking to someone face to face, but I still felt vulnerable when I published it. Most of the people that read my blog don't know me, but I am letting them in on my life. I was blessed, the comments I received were positive, people had enjoyed reading my testimony, and I really enjoyed hearing their opinions and stories in return. It opened a dialogue. Often we may not get the reaction we had hoped for first, but if a conversation is started as a result, then we have made an impact.
Whilst the people did listen to Paul, we see that in Acts 22:22 they raised their voices and said, "away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live." I wonder if anyone that was in the crowd hearing Paul's testimony that day had their lives changed as a direct result of what they heard? Maybe that started up a conversation for them with someone else.
What opportunities will you take to tell your story?