“I know girls,” sighed the camp counselor, “you’ve probably done this every year. Tonight is the first night of camp and we are all supposed to share our testimonies. Who wants to go first?”
You could tell, by looking around the room at the faces of the young girls, none was too keen on the idea. Finally, after a few too many moments of awkward silence, one of the girls spoke up. Her story was heart-rending; that of a broken home, utter despair, a faithful friend, and discovery of salvation in Christ.
“Oh good,” you might think to yourself, “surely one tale of hope will lead to another right?”
But suddenly, the rest of the girls seem to have taken great interest in their toes or in the specs of dirt mashed into the carpet. They are more reluctant than before to speak up. Something is definitely not right. Maybe none of the girls are saved; or maybe they just don’t know what a testimony is.
The counselor speaks up again. This time, with an explanation, “girls a testimony is just the story of how you got saved, it doesn’t have to be long…”Still, nothing. It’s getting late, so in an effort to stay positive, the counselor suggests the rest of the girls share on another night.
This account is all too familiar. And, I have a feeling many can relate. Year after year, I’ve watched this scene play out. Quite honestly, I’ve often been the one (or one of the many) reluctant to speak up and it wasn’t because I wasn’t saved.
I didn’t have a radical conversion story to tell. I hadn’t come from a broken home. Fact is I could hardly remember a time without Christ in my life; a time before I was saved. What was I supposed to say? Would the others even think I was a Christian? If I didn’t have a profound tale of conversion, if I couldn’t remember a time when sin reigned in my life, was I truly saved?
Recently, I have watched other young girls struggle with these very same doubts. I’ve watched them try to pinpoint a moment when they knew they were saved; heard them ask the question “how do I know I am really saved?” I’ve known these girls for years. I’ve watched them grow and heard their questions. I am convinced they are saved. I see it, but they can’t. I see the light and the difference in their life, but the change is so slight they can’t find it on their own. Sadly, these girls doubt because they have always heard the radical conversion stories. They have listened over and over to a pastor’s story of criminal to Christ follower. Their own friends have come from broken homes and devastation to discovering hope in Christ.
Praise the Lord for the redemption in so many broken lives, but where are all the people who grew up in a Christian home and were saved before they started kindergarten? I know I’m not the only one; these precious girls I know are proof of that.
Every Christian has a story about their salvation. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. The point is you realized you were a sinner, saw your need for a savior, and accepted God’s free gift of salvation. A testimony is “evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something.” In other words, a testimony is proof or evidence of your salvation.
A testimony is not supposed to be a detailed dictation of your life before Christ. Rather, a testimony is the evidence of Christ in your life. In the Bible, the disciples didn’t spend their time deliberating over their life before Christ. That wasn’t and still isn’t the point! The purpose of a testimony is that Christ would be made known; that through a believer’s life, others might see the light of life.
After you are saved, your testimony grows. As you grow in your walk with the Lord there is more evidence for Christ in your life. Jesus commands “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matt 5:16).” It doesn’t matter if our story is one of brokenness or one of finding Him as a little child. What matters is we have salvation in Him and through us others can see Him. “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 3:14-15).” We are to be His witnesses! No matter where we are, no matter what our story, we represent Christ. That means sharing our story without reserve; sharing with others the evidence of Christ in our lives.