By: Nathan Fox
What Spurred This Post
A few days ago Ashley (my fiancée) and I were at church, and really we were just talking to people after the service. A man in our church walked up to Ashley and I and saw our Marriage Counseling books that we are working through in preparation for our life together; immediately seeing our books spurred a conversation between the three of us. This man ended up telling us his story of a failed marriage due to his inability to “stay in God’s Word and to communicate with his wife.” He told us of a season of his life that was utterly lost, as he was addicted to drugs and was even arrested for running a meth operation. I knew his story, but had never heard him so purposefully open in telling it. Here was this man who didn’t know Ashley and barely knew me giving us advice on marriage through his testimony, which was a true blessing to hear.
The true irony in all of this is that later on that night I was reading through Acts chapter 22. It is in this chapter that Paul is found giving his own testimony (to a group of Jews that hated him no less, which I posted about last week). He covered everything about his conversion story, from his life before Christ (found in verses 3-5), his heart change (6-11), and his life since (12-21). He told of his radical conversion from killing Christians to being close to death for Christ. He told of the moment that He met Jesus and everything else in between. And remember, this was all to a group that hated him as evidenced by chapter 21! These Jews didn’t want to hear his story, but he told it anyways. They didn’t want to hear that God had made him an apostle for the Gentiles, but He pronounced it anyways. Paul told his life story (which was not the only time in Scripture he went into detail about his conversion), and in doing so we see an important point that should resonate with us today: God gave each believer a unique story for His glory.
Do Not Be Ashamed of Your Past…
I read of Paul’s willingness to share his testimony and it excites me! It makes me bolder in my attempt to share the story of my life, and how God changed me just as He changed Paul. If you read my biography you would know where I have come from. You would know that I struggled with an eating disorder that cost me everything from friends to dating relationships, to even my beloved basketball. It is easy for me to want to forget my past, because it was so painful for me to go through. I can’t even begin to describe the emotional and mental hurt that I experienced in that time. I am honestly tearing up as I write this; because what I went through is a pain I cannot even come close to describing. It is easy for me to want to forget it all, but I can’t. I can’t take back what happened any more that than I can control my favorite sports teams winning. What has happened is something that is in the past, and as time has gone on I have embraced it just as Paul did. I am not proud of it (and I am quite sure Paul was not proud of his past either), but I can tell you that when I tell my story I include my past because it is in entire story that God gets the glory.
But Instead Tell Your Story to Give God the Glory
I have learned that by giving my entire testimony God is honored and glorified. As I give my testimony, I highlight just how far He has brought me. I highlight just how much He has done in my life and in doing so He truly does get the glory of changing a broken, hell-bent boy into a growing, loving man. I am so proud of my God, and so proud that He can still change lives just as He changed Paul’s life and my life. God is still very much in the business of changing lives, but it might be that he changes someone’s life through your story. Each believer has a unique testimony in which God transformed their life. I urge you to tell it to anyone you know. What a privilege it is that we have a story to tell, let alone a story that could change someone else’s stance toward God. Numerous times my story has spurred people to praise God, and even in some cases has been a prelude of someone giving their life to God. My testimony has been used by God to bring people to Himself! What a joy that is for me to experience!
I am telling you from believer to believer to tell your story. Give your testimony as often as you can, just as Paul did. It is uniquely yours and can truly be used by God to change the life of another. Whether it is a simple story or not doesn’t matter; it is your story! Share it with someone, and pray that God would use it to bring changed people into His Kingdom. At the very least, telling your story will bring you to praise God for giving you a story to begin with. At most, it could be the catalyst for someone to receive Jesus. In it all, God is glorified. And that is why we tell our story: for His glory.