We all have a story to tell and our stories are our testimonies. So, everyone has a testimony. May I ask then, what is your story? It does not have to be a story of adversity to be a testimony. Sometimes the way we live gives a testimony even without uttering a word. It gives a testimony about the God we serve; it gives a testimony about our faith. For example, what would people say about us if an occasion arises where they must do so? Whatever they say is the testimony we passed along without being mindful of it. So, we all have a testimony. The question is whether it is a good one or a bad one.
Our Christian life should be a life of growth and not stagnation. We should not just try to hold our grounds or maintain altitude as Christians; we should always strive to gain grounds or altitude. Our testimonies can point to the direction of our walk with Christ. Has it been a progressive journey or has it been a retrogressive one? For example, every time we identify ourselves as Christians, we are making ourselves accountable, even when it is said to a nonbeliever. When in the workplace, one announces “I am a Christian,” a yardstick is being established by which we will be evaluated, and I can bet they will be watching, and they will be evaluating. The interesting thing is, they will be evaluating God too, because they will be thinking, so that is how a Christian acts. That is how a Christian treats his wife. That is how a Christian treats her husband. I get it. That is how a Christian raises their child. That is how a Christian does so and so. They are watching us. And nothing is worse than getting our behavior corrected in the light of our own faith by a nonbeliever, especially when they are right. Have you ever done something inconsistent and your non-Christian friend said, “I thought you were a Christian.” Our lives and the way we live them are testimonies.
On one of my trips to South Korea, I met a guy from Indonesia. The first time I met him in the dining area at our lodging place, I just felt a little uneasy about him. So, I kind of stayed out of his way. As it happened on my last day there, this guy was the only one in the dining area having breakfast. He beckoned to me to sit with him. I did reluctantly. Our conversation started nicely when I told him I was Nigerian living in the USA. He talked and raved about how developed nations take developing nations for granted. He talked about the need to teach them lessons that they will never forget. At a point, I thought he was trying to recruit me into Al Qaeda or something like it. Then out of the blues came the question, are you a Moslem? Within the few seconds that it took me to answer the question, all kind of thoughts raced through my mind. Is he the only one? Will they kidnap me? etc. Then I said yes, I am a Christian. You can just feel how deep his heart sank on the realization that all this time he had been running his mouth to the wrong person. Then he asked me whether I thought he was crazy telling me all he had told me. I said as a Christian I do not judge; I leave that to the Lord. When I left him, I felt very good inside that I acquitted myself very well as a creditable Christian. I felt the awesome power of God. At the back of my mind though it was a feeling of ‘phew, that was so close!’
Our testimony is not only about how we live, but also about our life experiences; what we have seen, heard and felt. Every time we come forward to talk about how God has intervened in our lives, more people will realize that God is for real, miracles do happen, and prayer works. Testimony is also an everyday occurrence. There may be a special day at Church for testimonies on Sundays, but we must let the life we live be a testimony of God’s grace and power every day of our lives.
One of the greatest testimonies that was ever given, was from a powerful pagan emperor who came to know that the God of Israel was indeed God over all. King Nebuchadnezzar gave a powerful testimony when he said: “It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.” (Daniel 4:2). The Bible also says, “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done” (1 Chronicles 16:8). Testimonies should be our pleasure. May we always have one in Jesus’ name.
– Pastor Simbo Odunaiya