Do You Exaggerate Your Personal Testimony?

February 1, 2013 — Leave a comment

lie2I was reading a really good biography on my Kindle these last few days, and quickly I became nostalgic of my own adolescence as the author was sharing their sordid past.

I personally have never done drugs, I didn’t get into drinking alcohol or sexual promiscuity.  My life was pretty tame in those regards, but when I gave my life to Christ at age 15, enough people who knew me could tell you a change had taken place in me.  I was no longer the same pain in the rear end that I was before.

I was–and am–still a work in progress, but still, a change was noticeable. For more detail about my background, you can read my three-part testimony.

What I was brought to think about today was how, when I was 16 or 17 years old, whenever I’d heard other people share their wild and crazy backgrounds before coming to Christ, I struggled a bit and felt like I didn’t have a sensational enough story to share.  In fact, without completely lying, I “emphasized” certain parts of my testimony more so than before in an attempt to try portraying it as more profound of a difference when I came from darkness to light.  Sounds silly, right?

It seemed like the people who had these wild stories of being plucked almost straight out of the lake of fire itself and gotten saved and transformed, had more of people’s attention when sharing their story.

I remember sharing my testimony in a public setting in front of many people once, and I prefaced it by saying “my testimony is pretty boring” and I admitted I was not a wild heathen like other people may have been.  Someone came up to me afterward and told me never to say my testimony is boring, because many people would love to have been spared some of the things that I’d never went near.  If any thing, I started to appreciate that I had a plain jane testimony, because it demonstrated God’s hand of protection over me even at a young age before I ever came to know Him.  I never felt ashamed or the need to exaggerate.

Can I challenge you?  If you don’t have some sordid testimony to share, please don’t feel the need to exaggerate and embelish the details of what God truly did in your life when you came to Him.  At least on one occasion I heard of a testimony from the baptismal tank at the Brownsville Revival where a woman was getting baptized a second time.  When asked why she did it a second time, she confessed that on the first time she totally made up her testimony because she thought it wasn’t as interesting as the other ones she heard.  Aside from making you wonder how many other people lied about their testimony in the revival, I could completely relate to how that lady felt.  But fortunately I don’t have anybody I need to go back and confess I had lied to or something like that.

My other challenge–If you do have a wild testimony of all the stuff God saved you from, can you please do me a favor also?  Please spend more time glorifying Jesus and what He’s transformed you into than you do spend time talking about your past in detail.

I know some people have a call on their life, for example, to rescue people from a lifestyle and your testimony may be a pivotal reason you have credibility, because you’ve been there yourself.  But sometimes–more often than not–I listen to some well-intended people spend way too long seemingly glorifying the sin they’ve been saved from, and then spend barely any time talking about what they’ve been saved to.

Give God thanks for what He’s done in your life, not what it seems like He’s not done.  And don’t compare yourself to anybody else!

Steve Bremner

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Steve Bremner is a Canadian missionary to Peru, who is called to raise up disciples who flow in the power of the Holy Spirit within a missional community named Oikos. He is passionate about blogging and podcasting, and is general editor of Fire Press, and also produces & co-hosts its podcast called Fire On Your Head. If you like Steve's blog, you'll also like his Kindle books. Note: this post may have contained affiliate links of which I receive a small commission if you purchase something I recommended.