Sharing one’s story of recovery with others can be tremendously encouraging, even life changing, for some who might hear. Women in recovery at Titus 2 receive specific instruction on writing and sharing their witness through their own story while in classes there. They also get lots of practice. First they practice sharing with one another. They practice sharing in confidential groups at Celebrate Recovery. They hear lots of testimonies, too, at Celebrate Recovery, in small groups, at churches, and elsewhere. By the time they leave Titus 2, they will have a brief, powerful testimony to how their lives have been changed.
Here are two brief resources about the testimony of Philip the Apostle from Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch magazine:
Read Acts 6: 1-6
A testimony is one person’s profession of faith in Jesus Christ. However, our declaration of belief is much more than the story we tell. A good witness for the Lord consists of three parts: character, conduct, and conversation.
As Christians, we rightly place great emphasis on crafting a solid personal account of the Lord’s work in our life. We also talk about the ways that we can “be Jesus Christ” to our friends, family, and co-workers through our actions. But character is the part of every believer’s testimony that underlies both Christ-like behavior and a good life story.
In general, what we do and say represents the kind of person that we are on the inside. We can tell a lot about Philip’s character by noticing his actions and words. From among many believers, Philip was chosen as one who was wise and full of the Spirit. But he wasn’t he wasn’t selected for a great ministry position—he was sent to serve food. Philip went willingly to do this menial work and every other job the Lord gave him, which shows his obedient spirit (Acts 6:5; 8:5, 26). We can be certain that he was a sincere and trustworthy man, because when he spoke, people listened (Acts 8:6). Philip’s testimony shines forth every way.
You can’t trick God into thinking your character is righteous if it isn’t. Nor can you fake moral conduct or conversation with people for very long. Sooner or later, a proud, bitter or unkind spirit yields behavior and speech contrary to the Christian message. But godly character produces real spiritual fruit.
Read Acts 8: 26-40
Christians have adopted a narrow definition of the word testimony. But sharing Jesus is much more than telling our conversion story or talking about God’s work in our life, although those things are important. We need to be prepared to meet unbelievers at the point of their spiritual need, even if our own story is very different.
We can learn a lot from Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch. While young Israelites had friends and family to disciple them in their faith, a foreign convert often had to work alone to discern the meaning of complex Scriptures. So by asking, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip showed that he understood the Ethiopian’s disadvantage. That one question enabled him to discover that the man had a genuine thirst for God’s truth but did not know of the Messiah. Philip used that information to tailor a gospel testimony for his particular listener. Consider how easily the Ethiopian could have become confused or frustrated if Philip—whose Jewish background was so different from the foreigner’s—had told only his own conversion story. The evangelist wisely avoided any extraneous information and instead used the power of God’s work to introduce the man to Jesus Christ.
Philip’s testimony began with the passage the Ethiopian was reading. He effectively spoke to the man’s spiritual interest in general while specifically answering his questions about Isaiah 53. We, too, must be sensitive to unbelievers’ concerns so we can explain how God will meet their needs.
As Titus 2 students move into work places and back into interaction with their families they begin to live their witness and speak it, as well, often using favorite “life scriptures” that have spoken specifically to them. One of the indicators that recovery is real, that a new life is firmly established is in the way in which one is open and bold about proclaiming the way God has worked in her life through changed conduct and changed conversation.
One’s testimony must be kept fresh and alive, not merely a rehash of something that happened years ago in her life. A testimony is less about the past and more about here and now and going forward. Here are two tools students use to prepare their testimony.
If the Holy Spirit is urging you to be an effective witness, consider spending some time to prepare a 3-10 minutes testimony, then practice by sharing it with others!