For many Christians, the thought of having to share their story with others can be a source of great fear and consternation.
When it comes to the story of what God has done in our lives, we certainly want to get things right. Sadly, our fear of failure, embarrassment, or rejection often causes us to remain silent or keep our story to ourselves. The good news is, there is no formula for how to tell your story.
Your story is as unique as the life God has given you. No Christian has the same story. And you don’t have to be eloquent or a great public speaker for God to speak through you. That’s the good news.
The bad news is, there is no formula for how to tell your story.
The Bible doesn’t give us a checklist of what to include. We are given examples but not necessarily hard rules to follow. For some, that can be incredibly frustrating.
What we know, however, is that God has called each of us to be bold in sharing the gospel, always being, “prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). This is our story.
But how do we do this?
Perhaps one of the best examples we are given in the Bible comes from the apostle Paul.
As a young man, Paul, who went by his Jewish name Saul, was an up-and-comer amongst the religious leaders of Jerusalem. A Jew and a Greek-speaking Roman citizen with an elite education, Paul had a lot going for him. However, in his zeal and pious fervor, Paul would become relentless in his hatred and persecution of early Christians. That is, until Jesus Himself appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, changing his life forever.
From then on, Paul would demonstrate a passion for the gospel, a love for the church, and an eagerness to tell his story, contending for the faith with courage, confidence, and clarity, wherever he went.
In many ways, Paul was a masterful communicator and one of the most effective ministers of the gospel, often by sharing his own story.
From his testimonies given in Acts 22 and Acts 26, as well as his many letters, there are several tips we can learn from Paul when sharing our story with others.
Here are six tips to consider:
1. Remember Whose Story You are Really Telling
Though your story may differ from that of your fellow Christians, a common theme and common hero should always emerge.
After all, God has called you to give an account of what He has done in your life, not what you have done to get to where you are today. Despite what our world may believe, it’s not always about you.
Before Christ, Paul was headed down a very dark path. On the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-31), however, Christ intervened, radically altering the trajectory of Paul’s life, something he could not have done on his own.
In fact, as Paul would later write in his second letter to Timothy, “God saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Timothy 1:8-9, emphasis added).
Likewise, when you take the focus off yourself, you inevitably begin to see your story as a testimony of God’s goodness and grace, not your greatness.
Because of God’s grace, your story becomes part of His story, one in which He can be honored as both the author and hero.
2. Rejoice That You Are Not Who You Used to Be
On many occasions, Paul chronicled the life he lived before his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus.
By God’s grace, however, Paul was no longer that man.
This was something he spoke of often, and for good reason.
To those who knew Paul, it must have come as quite the shock to see this former Christ-hater become such an outspoken evangelist and defender of the Christian faith (Acts 9:19-20). The important thing is that Paul made the distinction clear.
Likewise, change is the ultimate testimony of God’s saving grace at work in your life.
You have been forgiven and redeemed and thus made right with God the Father through Jesus Christ. This is reason to rejoice
The joy, the hope, the peace, and the love you now have should be evident in your life. That doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect or put on a mask of happiness. You are not who you once were because of the grace of Jesus Christ. That’s enough.
This is a powerful part of your story, perhaps the part most worth sharing.
3. Accept That You Are Called to Share Your Story
Regardless of your feelings, fears, or following, the Bible makes clear that you are commissioned to bear witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. And if God has called you to share your story, He will not abandon you when calling you to speak.
What, therefore, is holding you back?
Naturally, some people are better communicators than others. Some Christians have shared powerful testimonies of how Christ delivered them from a horrendous past.
Christians are not immune from comparison, and it’s easy for Christians to get discouraged by the eloquence or gravitas of another person’s story.
However, the goal of telling your story should never be to impress; it should be to help introduce others to the God you serve.
If you’re worried that your story might not be as good or powerful as someone else’s, perhaps you’re focusing too much on yourself and your abilities, not God.
Paul believed that it was best to speak plainly, allowing the Holy Spirit to shine through his words and speak to the hearts of those God wanted to hear his story. He writes, “my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of mankind, but on the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
Sometimes you just have to step forward in faith and get out of God’s way.
As Jesus told His followers, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
Paul emphasized that during his conversion experience that God had set him apart to be His “chosen instrument” (Acts 9:15). He was called to bear witness to all God had done and would do in his life (Acts 26:16).
In Paul’s story, God had made clear that he would be sent to preach the gospel to both the Jews and the Gentiles (Acts 26:18). The proliferation of the gospel was his mission (Acts 22:14-15). It is also your mission. The question is: do you let your light shine through your story, or do you hide it from others out of fear or insecurity?
4. Do Not Conform or Cave to Backlash or Pressure
Though we are called to share the good news that is the gospel, the world can still be hostile place for Christians. Paul was no stranger to backlash and adversity in response to his testimony and ministry.
In fact, God had warned Paul early on that he would suffer greatly for the sake of the gospel (Acts 9:15). However, “it is through many tribulations that we must enter the kingdom of God” Paul reminded the disciples (Acts 14:22).
Like Paul, you too have been set apart by God, and that means, like it or not, your story will make waves. Evil cannot tolerate the light of truth, with which it cannot contend or contain. The best it can do is try and discourage you from ever letting that light shine.
In Paul’s case, that meant being attacked, slandered, and falsely accused in an attempt to silence Paul or pressure him into changing his story to what the world wanted to hear.
Paul would not. He would endure being flogged, stoned, shipwrecked, and beaten, even losing friends because of his faith. Through it all he stood firm, stating, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
Unwavering and unshrinkable, Paul weathered the storm of persecution, violence, and criticism, knowing that, in God’s eternal story, validation and approval from the Father was far more important than acceptance or praise from others (Philippians 3:14).
Furthermore, for the sake of the gospel, Paul was willing to endure hardship and bear the chain of suffering and adversity (Acts 28:20). Though many would reject Paul’s story, his resolve would never be quenched, through prison and even unto death.
In this way, his story was told for the encouragement and instruction of the church and those who would one day come to know Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. It was worth sharing.
5. Love Your Audience
Even under threat of persecution or imprisonment, Paul embraced every opportunity he was given to introduce others, whether Jew or Gentile, to the one who’d saved his life.
In fact, when put on trial before the Roman authorities, Paul considered himself “fortunate” to be given such an audience (Acts 26:2-3), even appealing to Caesar so that he could fulfill his long-term goal of preaching in Rome.
The bottom line is, Paul never shied away from the opportunity to share his story, even to those with the power to take away his freedom or cause him harm.
Though he encountered incredible opposition throughout his ministry, Paul never saw those who hated him as his enemy. They were the ones God had called him to love and minister to, and to reach them, Paul traveled far and wide, learning about his audience and respecting them by speaking their language, answering their questions, and addressing their needs.
6. Start Now
Sharing your story is not just for those who have the ability to speak or a large public platform. You are called to share God’s story with the people He has put in your life, and you are encouraged to start now.
Like many Christians, you may not want to talk about yourself. There’s a remedy for this: keep your story focused on who God is and what He has done. It’s much easier to boast about someone else and all the good things they have done for you than it is to talk about yourself or your achievements.
When your attitude shifts from a me-centered story to a God-inspired narrative, you begin to see your story, not as something you have to share, but more of something you get to share.
Excitement follows when you know you have something wonderful to share with those who could use a little good news. And what better news could there be than what Christ has already done in your life and wants to do in theirs?