The definition of ‘testimony’ somewhat surprises me. Not only is it a formal written or spoken statement (or, in other words, a type of story), it is also evidence in support of a fact or statement; proof.
Testimonies are incredibly powerful. Many times I’ve had deep, theological discussions with friends, yet I’ve found that simply sharing what God has done in my life, what He is continuing to do, and what He will do in the future has often had a much deeper, more emotional impact on the person I am talking to. There is power in simplicity and testimonies have the power to prove that Jesus is active in our everyday life.
Everyone’s story is powerful, whether you have grown up in Church your whole life, or in the blink of an eye, Jesus came into your life and took away a serious drug addiction. Both are equally as powerful, because both tell of the personal impact that God has had on someone’s life.
So this week, I thought I’d share my testimony.
My parents were married in a church, and all of their children (my older sister, older brother, and I) were christened as babies. Growing up in England, this seems to be the traditional thing to do, whether or not you class yourself as a ‘born-again’ Christian. My family is very diverse; I have seen many different views, opinions, and beliefs. Yet I still cling to Christ, because I believe with all of my heart that He is the way, the truth, and the life.
I wasn’t brought up in Church; the highest amount of "churchy stuff I was involved in was at primary school; we sang hymns, said prayers and went to the occasional church service for special occasions, but that was about it. The first memory I have of thinking about God was when I was walking out of an assembly, and adamantly declared to my friends, “There can’t be a God, because there’s science!” I laugh at my 8-or-so year old self now, because in my opinion that is probably one of the worst arguments against Christianity.
I also have another primary school memory where God was involved. In year six (the final year of primary school), we were allowed to sit on benches at the back of the hall during assemblies; what a privilege! Once a week, some people from a local church would visit and perform a short Bible story, at the end of which a prayer was said. It was totally uncool to say the prayers when you were in year six, sitting at the back of the hall on the benches. But one time, I remember putting my elbows on my knees, covering my mouth tightly with my hand, somehow making it look like I was just relaxing, or looking somewhat bored with the assembly. I managed to say a quick ‘amen’ at the end of the prayer without anyone noticing. I don’t remember why I said ‘amen’ at the end of that prayer; I think it was out of fear of the unknown, and yet God has still used that to bring me to where I am today.
Fast-forward into secondary school when some friends invited me to a youth group filled with games, social time, and food. How could I decline the offer of attending? I mean there was free food. So, I started going along to this youth group. I remember thinking the youth leaders were some of the coolest people I had ever known, and it was here that I met some of my closest friends of today.
I can’t remember the exact point that I gave my life to Jesus, but I remember taking home a Christian devotional magazine (‘The Word 4U 2Day’), sitting on my bedroom floor and saying the prayer of salvation that was printed in the back. I know that simply saying a prayer does not get you into heaven; it is willfully acknowledging that we sin (i.e., we mess up and cannot reach heaven on our own), we need Jesus to save us, and asking Him to do just that. However, I think that saying that prayer was the start of a great adventure with Jesus. I don’t know if I was saved at that exact point, or before, but I know that I am saved now, and that is all that matters.
After saying that prayer, nothing really changed. I didn’t feel anything. I wondered if anything had happened at all, and I kept saying that prayer over and over again, hoping that I would get some sort of confirmation from above. I remember going to a retreat with some of my youth leaders and friends, and one youth leader asked me if I had asked Jesus into my life. I told her that I had said the prayer at the back of the magazine, and she proceeded to squeal, hug me tightly, and rush to tell one of the other youth leaders, who gave a similar reaction. I was so confused.
What had just happened? Had I missed something?
The next few years were quite rocky. I was still scared of what would happen after I died; I still had anxiety about lots of other things, and I had a polluted perception of who God was. This was probably because I didn’t read the Bible much - I was ashamed of it and I misinterpreted a lot of it - and I probably didn’t pray much either. I remember having friends over at my house, and one of them saw my Bible. “What is this?! A Bible?! You read the Bible?!” I was mortified, embarrassed, and ashamed.
Then, things changed. The more time I spent with Jesus, the more the truth of what He had done for me and what He had saved me from sunk in to my core. I am now in a place where I am totally, irrevocably unashamed of the Gospel. I have experienced Jesus in far too many beautiful ways for me to be anything but unashamed. Insults, jokes, ridicule - throw it all at me. Nothing will make me change my mind.
Jesus has taught me so much and I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Jesus comforted me and held on to me when I was absolutely terrified about some of the things my family were doing, and I can now stand and look the enemy directly in the eye and say, “Bring it on.” I have seen miracle upon miracle - I have witnessed the deaf being able to hear, the blind being able to see, the lame being able to walk.
I have seen deep, emotional healing. I have seen people being delivered from things that weren’t of God, and have seen tremendous joy pouring into their lives as Jesus sits with them and restores them. I have heard of my friend praying for someone’s self-harm scars to fade, and they shrunk before their very eyes.
I have seen and experienced too many things that were said in the name of Jesus for it to be a coincidence, or for it to be something else. The stories that you read in the Bible didn’t just happen thousands of years ago. They are happening right now, all across the world, if only we would open our eyes to see them and open our hearts to pray for them.
I was baptized in July 2015, and life has been incredible since. I have made many a mistake since then, and have failed my Savior frequently. But Jesus has never left my side. He has never given up on me, and He never will. Jesus didn’t come to save the righteous, but to save the lost. All of my failures are wrapped up in Jesus’ blood so that God no longer sees them, and everything good in me is from Jesus. My life is now hidden in Christ. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, and now I aim to live the life that God has created me to live.
Growing up in a family where you are the only Christian is difficult. However, I have it so much better than many others across the world - my family allows me to go to church, to get involved with various church events, to spend time alone in my room praying and worshipping and reading the Bible. Things have been tricky, but I can't thank my family enough for the support they've shown me over the years.
‘God is not in a hurry to fix us. Our behavior is not His first priority. We are His first priority. Loving us is His main concern.’ (Judah Smith - ‘Jesus Is For You’)
So why am I a Christian? Because I am imperfect, just like everybody else, and I desperately need a Savior. When I feel like life is totally overwhelming me, I know that Jesus is sitting right beside me, climbing into the mess and dirt of life and sorting it all out for me.
I have often wondered why I chose to follow Christ as opposed to any other religion or way of thinking. And then I remember that Christianity isn’t about man searching for God; it is about God searching for man.
“Jesus isn’t standing aloof, yelling at us to climb out of our pits and clean ourselves up so we can be worthy of Him. He is wading waist deep into the muck of life, weeping with the broken, rescuing the lost, and healing the sick.” (Judah Smith - ‘Jesus Is For You’)
Before the creation of the world, God knew you. He created you with a purpose, He showers you with love, and you are His most prized possession. Before you ever thought about Him, He was thinking about you. The God who created the universe came into the world’s chaos in order to save you. He doesn’t blame you or point the accusing finger. He simply longs for you to come home to Him, and He went to extraordinary lengths to do so, knowing that even then some people would not accept Him. Before He brought you into existence, He knew the sacrifice He would have to make.
It wasn’t the nails that kept Him on the Cross; it was His love for you.
We could never get to heaven on our own. No one is worthy, no one is perfect, and no one is righteous. And yet because of Jesus, we are worthy. We are perfect in God’s eyes, and we are righteous.
And yet, Christianity isn’t just about going to Heaven when you die. It is about living an extraordinary, adventurous, incredible life with Jesus, here and now. We can live life with the Creator of the Universe by our side. When I am praying, when I am worshipping, when I am in the presence of the Almighty, there is nothing better. I have tried to find other ways to satisfy my soul, and there are none. Nothing compares to the sweet presence of Jesus Christ.
Hope has a name. Joy has a name. Peace has a name. Love has a name. That name is Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2: 3-6 (MSG)
“It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.”
“The Bible calls death the final enemy. It’s a bigger enemy than sickness, doubt, fear, sin, poverty, or pain. Jesus conquered this final enemy in the resurrection. That means we don’t have to fear anything - not even death.” (Judah Smith - ‘Jesus Is For You’)
Alice is 18 and from England. She gave her life to Jesus about 5 years ago, and was baptized in July 2015. She feels that she is called to creative evangelism after receiving many prophecies from various people. She's a keen musician, photographer, writer, and speaker, and she hopes to involve all of these passions when sharing the love of Jesus to the world. She looks forward to moving to a city to attend university, engrossing herself in youth culture and wider communities.