Over the past couple of months I have been asking a lot of Christians this question. And I must say, the responses have been nothing but amazing: a blend of spiritual anecdotes, awkward moments and bible discussions. I did realise, however, that the common responses I received were conclusions these people had made after receiving an encounter with God. For example, I believe in God because He is my saviour or I believe in God because He takes care of me and has been good to me.
One thing I did realise as I did my interviews was the fact that most—if not all—of the people I spoke to didn’t tell me the stories that led to the conclusions they shared. Not one spoke about their near death experience they had that left them thankful and believing more in God; not one spoke about the time they were so broke and had nothing but prayer on their lips and hope in their hearts; not one spoke about the moment they called unto God to prove He was truly real for which he showed up. But why? Why would many Christians leave out the stories that are the biggest proof of God’s existence? The biggest problem I realised amongst Christians is that they feel that these testimonies belong to them. Majority of Christians are shy to testify because they or we don’t realise that our testimonies are tools, weapons (Revelation 12:11) for which we can let the world know that the God within us is real, loving, all powerful and more.
We have one mandate in this world as Christians and it’s to reconcile man to God. But how do we reconcile man when we can’t even tell anyone about the experiences and encounters we have had with this God? Fear perhaps! But the truth is, everyone wants to know about God, everyone wants to experience His goodness…many people don’t hate God as we imagine, they—like all of us—hate their problems and the way a group of people stab their wounds without offering a real solution; Christianity isn’t about pointing out people’s sin’s and telling them to come to church; it’s about revealing God to another soul and allowing (or inviting) them to experience His goodness as well.
Let your light shine
No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light (Luke 11:33).
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16).
In the above passages, Jesus tells us that we are the light of this world and that our light is to shine in order that men would glorify our Father in Heaven. This light as He mentioned isn’t to be hidden or placed under a bushel but on a candlestick that it will give light to the house. This light is symbolic of our testimony and the house is symbolic of our sphere of influence or domain. Your testimony is never supposed to be hidden, you are to share it with others within your domain—for which God would give you, that many would glorify Him.
The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him (John 4:28-30).
Increasing your domain
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord (Matthew 25:21).
And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities (Luke 19:17).
We all have a domain or sphere of influence and the more we shine our light, the more God increases our domain. He will by our faithfulness increase our domain just as He did in the life of Paul the Apostle.
Below is Paul’s testimony as narrated to King Aggripa. This was before He before he (Paul) began his conquest around Asia.
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.”
So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself: “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.
“My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?
“Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
Paul Recounts His Conversion
“While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
Paul’s Post-Conversion Life
“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
Agrippa Parries Paul’s Challenge
Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”
But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
Acts 26:1-28 (NKJV)
Yes! Indeed Jesus is the Son of God. Yes through Him, God has forgiven and continues to forgive us of our sins. Yes through Him all things were made, But this alone isn’t your testimony or can’t be the reason for which you believe in the existence of God. Your reason for believing should be your epiphany or encounter with Christ that made you believe that He is the Son of God; that all power belongs to Him; that He died and rose again and all that you heard and know about Him.
Christianity begins with this epiphany, for it is with such an experience that we go down on our knees and call Him to take over our lives: to make us sons of God and to renew our minds from the darkness that battles with us each day.
So now before I end this post, let me ask you once again, why do you believe in God? Or rather, what’s your testimony?