Why Testify?
War Cry Magazine

Why would a seemingly normal person reveal private details about his or her past? Why would someone confess past sins, mistakes and embarrassments?  Shouldn't some things just be kept a secret?

Paul said in Acts 20:24, "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace."

If anyone in history had a tumultuous past it was Paul. Formerly Saul, persecutor of Christians, he was directly touched by the Spirit of the Lord and completely changed. Henceforth he could not stop telling of Jesus' goodness, forgiveness and grace.

So why does an otherwise sane person share what others would keep secret? Because keeping secrets does not bring healing. Living a counterfeit life of goodness helps no one. I like to say, "Everyone has skeletons in their closets; my closets just don't have doors!"

It's been said that you don't get a testimony without first going through a test. When you go through a terrible time in your life, be assured you aren't the only one who has or ever will endure it. There is nothing new under the sun and surely someone else has experienced the dilemma you are living.

It is difficult to go through trials that come by way of our own bad choices. When pain comes upon us through no fault of our own, the injustice of it can be overwhelming. Losing a loved one, being the victim of a crime, and losing a job are all hardships through which testimonies are formed.

James said, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything." (James 1:2-3) 

Wouldn't you be strengthened if someone who had previously lived through your test put his or her arm around you and empathized? Perhaps that person could even share some tips for coping or offer hope for a brighter future. Maybe that person could just sit with you and hold your hand. Well, perhaps that will be your next assignment.

We don't go through tough times for nothing. Determine that your past wounds and sins weren't for naught. Don't give Satan that power! Decide that others will benefit from your pain and grow through your mistakes. No one is helped unless we are completely transparent.

If you were walking down a road and tripped over a bump, wouldn't you turn around and warn those walking behind you? It's the same principle.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 say, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

Your trials will bring hope and healing to someone else in the future – if you allow God to restore you. He will put people into your path who need to hear about the storm you've been through and that God helped you out the other side. Whether it is one-on-one or to an audience, He will give you opportunities to testify about His goodness and His strength. Just keep your eyes and ears open. When He shows you someone in need, be obedient to His gentle guidance to share the comfort and restoration you have received through Him.

We testify about God's forgiveness of past sins and about His healing of past wounds. Sometimes testifying is primarily to share the good news of God's forgiveness and saving grace. We have all sinned and fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23).

In Acts 10:42-43, Peter was commanded to testify to Cornelius the centurion. Peter said, "He (Jesus) commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." 
Don't be discouraged through your trials; God will use you. Remember out of your test comes your testimony.

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