Have you ever had the privilege of sharing your testimony?
Last summer I got to share mine in front of almost 100 middle school and high school students, and I really wish I’d known then what I’m about to share with you in this post.
The thing is, I struggled for weeks trying to come up with a way to summarize 3-ish years of walking with God, and I just could not figure out how for the life of me. So, I ended up just walking to the front of the room and telling it like it happened, hitting all of the major points and being sure to include the Gospel like I had been taught. God definitely used my testimony that day, but I really wish I had taken ten minutes and asked Him what the central theme of my testimony–my word–is.
Everyone’s testimony has a central theme–something that can be said in ten words or less. Do you want to hear mine?
“Her who was not beloved I have called ‘beloved.'”
God revealed that to me just a few days ago. I was reading through Romans 9 and I got to verse 25 where Paul quotes Hosea:
As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
…and it slammed my soul with a love so powerful, I was left reeling. There was no doubt in my mind that God was revealing something amazing to me.
I won’t lie, there was a brief moment where I felt like Kenai from Brother Bear when he gets the bear totem of love. I mean, of course I’m beloved. It’s God we’re talking about.
But, that is exactly the story He wrote for me, and now I’ve realized the power of it. There is a certain rebellion in living as though you are loved no matter what the world tells you you are. All along I was looking for something fancy (maybe the eagle of guidance, like Sitka. Okay, the Brother Bear references are ending now) when all along I am, simply, “beloved.”
Looking back at my life, I know that that was exactly my story: He called me beloved when I was not beloved. All through my life, up until the summer after high school when God lifted the veil from my heart, the theme of my life was always isolation. Granted, most of it was self-imposed, and a lot of it was very subtle, but it happened so often, and so consistently. And it wasn’t always physical aloneness–I just could not shake the feeling of being alone.
Then God revealed Himself to me for who He really was–not the god that I had made Him out to be, but the real, true, personal God who is King of the world and who has never changed from the beginning of time. He gave me Himself; He gave me His Spirit to reside within me, His Son to take the burden of my sin, and His Father heart to comfort me and change me from the inside out. He also gave me a community the likes of which I had never experienced before, closeness with a group of people who were like a second family.
I’m not going to act like walking with God is a breeze, but there has never been a day that I have felt unloved by God.
Her who was not beloved He has called “beloved.”
What is your word?
Before I knew God, I was isolated.
After I knew God, I was beloved.
What was the central theme of your life before God saved you, and what is the central theme now?
Everyone has one.
For Moses, it was slavery to liberty. For Lazarus, it was death to life (literally!). For Peter, it was fear to boldness. For Paul, it was blindness (spiritually and literally!) to sight. Every person in the Bible has one, if you look hard enough, and I would venture to say that you have one, too.
Ask God to fill in the blanks for you: “He/she who was ____ He has called ‘_____.'”
Pray about it. Look back on your life and think honestly about where you were before God, and where you are now. Spend time in the Word asking God to make something stand out to you if He has spoken it over your life.
Honestly, it might take some time. God might ask you to wait. I started thinking about what the central theme of my testimony was almost a year ago, and I read Romans 9:25 five days ago.
But it was worth it.
I’m praying that you won’t have to wait that long!
Please don’t just make something up to have something, either. The real thing is going to be exciting and it will monumentally increase your love and awe for God. If you just make something up on the spot, it’s another boring to-do list item.
“Jenna, this sounds like some millennial, hippy-dippy new age nonsense.”
Let me tell you something: Finding your word and the central theme of your testimony is vitally important to the Kingdom of God. How? I’m so glad you asked! It’s important for two reasons:
#1) It will open your eyes to the enemy’s attack strategy.
Remember how I said my word was “beloved?” Well, after learning that, I realized that Satan has been going all out trying to take that away from me. Most commonly, he does this in the area of relationships. Often, I find myself obsessed with my singleness. It has been an issue for as long as I can remember during the times I’ve been single, and I believe that the enemy orchestrated that in my life to blind me to the far greater love of God…and it has worked. Through that, he has led me to believe dozens of lies surrounding love and relationships that have ultimately taken me away from the love of God.
So often I choose to question God as to why He would let me be single rather than bask in His love for me.
So often I daydream about being pursued by a man rather than about the Kingdom coming to earth.
So often I spend my quiet times praying about whatever guy I happen to have a crush on, rather than interceding for the nations or my family, or spending more time in the Word (NOTE: It’s not a bad thing to pray about this. God cares about the things on our hearts. My point here is that it is immensely distracting.).
My intense desire to be called “beloved” by a man crippled my faith at times, and meanwhile someone greater has been calling me beloved all along.
Even beyond the concept of singleness, the enemy tells me all the time that God does not really love me; He doesn’t really care about me. I struggled for a year to even believe in His love in the first place. This significantly impacted my desire to evangelize, pray, and spend time with God because if you think about it, if God doesn’t love us, what’s the point of any of this?
I was completely blind to these kinds of attacks before I knew my “central theme.” Pretty much as soon as God told me what it was, I started to see the enemy’s work.
The kingdom of darkness is real, and it is fighting the work of the kingdom of God. It is laughable in comparison, it’s true, but for now it pretty much has free reign over the earth. I would venture to say that it has built some kind of stronghold in your life without your knowledge, but the identity that God speaks over you has the power to destroy strongholds and all of the lies they contain. All you have to do is find out what that identity is.
#2) It will increase the effectiveness of your testimony.
Not sure why testimonies are important in the first place? Take a look at Revelation 12:11:
“And they have conquered [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
What is a testimony, anyway?
It’s the story of how God saved your life, put simply. I don’t think it’s an accident that God chose to give each of us a story of our personal encounter with Him and then put something within us and the people around us that enjoys hearing stories.
There are two things that the enemy will ultimately be defeated by: the blood of Jesus on the cross, and your testimony. That’s crazy! Your life story is saving the world!
Once God reveals your word and your theme to you, I guarantee your passion for your testimony–and for sharing it!–will dramatically increase. There’s something about the resulting mixture of gratitude, excitement, and anticipation that makes me want to tell everyone that God has called me beloved.
Not only will it make your testimony more cohesive, it will make you want to tell it. It will spread further. The kingdom of God will come to earth, believers will be encouraged, and the enemy will be defeated.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the story of how God saved your life!
What do I do when God tells me my word?
First of all…
Now, WRITE IT WHERE YOU’LL READ IT! Write it on sticky notes, on notebooks, make it your phone wallpaper–write it where you’ll see it all the time!
The enemy would love to have you forget it, or to have it lose its meaning.
But we won’t stand for that.
Take some time to pray and thank God! He has just given you an incredible gift!
Now, go use it to bring heaven to earth!
Until next time,