My friends and I rolled our eyes as the elderly elder stood up from his accustomed side front pew. As usual, he half turned to face the congregation, leaned his left hand on the pew, as he always did, and began his testimony . . . again. It was the well-rehearsed story of his conversion from sixty years ago. We had all heard it so many Sundays during “testimony time” most of us teens could have recited it for him.
I wanted to interrupt him to ask, “Hasn’t God done anything for you recently?” but I had been a Christian only a few years and now, during my late teens, I was learning how to be a well-behaved member of our small evangelical church.
True, some members of the congregation did stand and tell of recent answers to prayer, but for the most part, “giving your testimony” meant telling the story of how you came to repent of your sin and turn to God for forgiveness.
Now there is nothing wrong with telling the story of how God rescued us from our former lifestyle and set us on the path of right living. What we need to realize, however, is that our conversion is only the beginning of a whole life filled with actions of God—answers to prayers, amazing co-incidences, healings and special guidance. Our post-conversion lives should be overflowing with stories that bear witness to God’s work in and through us. When we tell those personal experiences—those God-stories— we are witnessing to the world even to the whole universe that God is alive and powerful and that He is in control.
Satan hates hearing about God’s power in our lives. When, like a witness in court, we tell what God has done for us personally, Satan will do anything to shut us up. Why? Because our God-stories are weapons: powerful Satan defeating weapons.
Check out the scene in Revelation 12:11. Here are a huge number of Jesus-followers who overcame Satan by telling everyone about what God had done for them personally, through the atoning death of Jesus Christ. They were powerful witnesses against Satan and for God they made God look so good and Satan look so bad that multitudes of other people abandoned Satan and turned to God. They just wouldn’t shut up, so Satan had to kill them. Yes, they were martyrs. In fact, the word martyr comes from the Greek word that means witness.
Our testimonies, our God-stories of God’s actions in our lives are powerful Satan conquering weapons. What a pity that we don’t hear them regularly in church! No, not the same old story over and over again every Sunday, but new God-honouring, Satan crushing stories.
We who are followers of Jesus need to tell our stories every time we have the opportunity, to each other for encouragement, and to those who are not yet believers to let them know God can and does act in people’s lives.
Whenever I speak in public I tell plenty of personal God-stories—what God has done for me, through me, or sometimes in spite of me. As I greet people at the door afterwards, they often say, “Thank you for telling those stories. Isn’t God wonderful?” I can just hear Satan’s groan of pain.
What has God done in your life this past week? Have you told anyone yet?