Real life stories wield tremendous impact on us. I just finished reading The Boys in the Boat, the story of the eight-man rowing team from the University of Washington that won the gold medal in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. It’s an inspiring story of great sacrifice, teamwork and victory against all odds.
God knows how powerful true stories are and He has filled the Bible with stories of men and women from cover to cover. Romans 15:4 explains, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
If you know Jesus Christ, then you possess a unique story. No one else has a story quite like yours. But if you’re like me, we often minimize the power of our story.
I used to think I didn’t have a story. When I was a teen, I remember listening to a guy with a drugs-to-Jesus testimony. He was standing there with only one arm—absent the arm he had lost to drugs. He talked about the years he had spent in prison and then how he came to Christ and how the Lord had forgiven him and made him new! He had a powerful story.
But as I listened to him, I thought, “I don’t have a story like that. My story is boring!” After all, I grew up in a home where my parents loved Jesus and led me to Christ at an early age. What’s there to tell?
Since then, I’ve recognized that this subtle lie is from the evil one. Perhaps he has used it on you as well. He tells us that our lives don’t matter. He says we’re dull and boring and no one would listen to us. But nothing could be farther from the truth!
True, I surrendered my life to Christ as a child. My dad had taken my brother and me to a Billy Graham crusade in Minneapolis in 1961. After Dr. Graham’s message, he gave an invitation and I told my dad I wanted to go forward. So, he and my brother walked down to the front with me.
I was only nine years old at the time. At that tender age I hadn’t committed any felonies, nor delved into the depths of sinful living. But I knew I was a sinner. I had lied, disobeyed my parents, slugged my brother (more than once), had vented my anger, and so on. I was as guilty as anyone and needed cleansing and forgiveness.
Jesus came into my life that day and washed me. He set my feet on a new path of following Him. There have been times since then when I have wandered from that path, but He kept loving me, accepting me and bringing me back.
And as is often the case with us, I’ve renewed my allegiance to Christ from time to time. One such time that stands out for me was when I was 19. I had become distracted by stuff in the world. But by watching the lives of a couple of new followers of Christ, I committed my life anew to my Savior and my life has not been the same since!
By trusting Him, He has enabled me to see Him work in mighty ways over the years. I’ve experienced His faithfulness, His provision, His great love, mercy and grace again and again. I’ve watched Him change countless lives for the better. Jesus Christ is my God, my King, my Savior, and my Hope. And by the way, I praise God that my story isn’t like that one-armed former convict!
I urge you to spend some time reflecting on your story. I’d venture to guess that it’s far more powerful than you can imagine. Pare your story down to a few minutes and share it with someone and watch how God uses your story to encourage and challenge them.
Our story of salvation and God’s work in our lives is so powerful because it is God’s story unfolded in us. And when we tell it, we not only glorify God, but we encourage others. Additionally, when we testify to who God is and what He has done in our lives, we reinforce for ourselves the truth and power of what we’re sharing.