Sharing Your Life Message
by Rick Warren
Over the next few days, Rick Warren will teach you simple ways to share your faith – jw
«Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony of God in them.» (1 John 5:10a GW)
«Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word …. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore — you’re the message!» (1 Thessalonians 1:8 MSG)
God has given you a Life Message to share.
When you became a believer, you also became God’s messenger. God wants to speak to the world through you. Paul said, «We speak the truth before God, as messengers of God.» (2 Corinthians 2:17)
You may feel you don’t have anything to share, but that’s the Devil trying to keep you silent. You have a storehouse of experiences that God wants to use to bring others into his family. The Bible says, «Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony of God in them.» (1 John 5:10)
Your Life Message has four parts to it:
- Your testimony: the story of how you began a relationship with Jesus;
- Your life lessons: the most important lessons God has taught you;
- Your godly passions: the issues God shaped you to care about most;
- The Good News: the message of salvation.
Your Life Message includes your testimony. Your testimony is the story of how Christ made a difference in your life. Peter tells us that we were chosen by God «to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you.» (1 Peter 2:9)
This is the essence of witnessing — simply sharing your personal experiences regarding the Lord. In a courtroom, a witness isn’t expected to argue the case, prove the truth, or press for a verdict; that is the job of attorneys. Witnesses simply report what happened to them or what they saw.
Jesus said, «You will be my witnesses» (Acts 1:8) – not «You will be my attorney.» He wants you to share your story with others. Sharing your testimony is an essential part of your mission on earth because it is unique. There is no other story just like yours, so only you can share it. If you don’t share it, it will be lost forever.
You may not be a Bible scholar, but you are the authority on your life, and it’s hard to argue with personal experience. Actually, your personal testimony is more effective than a sermon, because unbelievers see pastors as professional salesmen, but they see you as a «satisfied customer,» so they give you more credibility.
Personal stories also are easier to relate to than principles, and people love to hear them. They capture our attention, and we remember them longer. Unbelievers would probably lose interest if you started quoting theologians, but they have a natural curiosity about experiences they’ve never had. Shared stories build a relational bridge from your heart to theirs – a bridge Jesus can walk across.
Another value of your testimony is that it by-passes intellectual defenses. Many people who won’t accept the authority of the Bible will listen to a humble personal story. That is why on six different occasions Paul used his testimony to share the Gospel instead of quoting Scripture.
The Bible says, «Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect.» (1 Peter 3:15-16) The best way to «be ready» is to write out your testimony and then memorize the main points.
· Testimony – Divide your testimony into four parts:
o 1 – What my life was like before I met Jesus.
o 2 – How I realized I needed Jesus.
o 3 – How I committed my life to Jesus.
o 4 – The difference Jesus has made in my life.
· Variations on your testimony – You have a story for every experience in which God has helped you. Once you are comfortable with your basic testimony, make a list of all the problems, circumstances, and crises God has brought you through. Then use one of those situations when it seems relevant. Different situations call for different testimonies.