I love to hear people’s stories. To hear about where they came from. How they came to be where they are. What they are doing now, and what their plans are for the future.
And if they have time to listen, I love to tell my story too.
Telling our life stories seems to be as basic to human relationships as the air we breathe. Not everyone can write poetry, solve mathematical equations, or build a skyscraper. Most everyone, however, can tell their story. In fact, except for God, no one is more the expert on you than you. This is why, for the believer, there is no more powerful way to evangelize than to simply tell your Christ-story—the story of how you came to know Christ and how He has transformed you.
According to the Book of Acts, Paul on at least two occasions took the simple approach of giving his testimony of salvation. In other words, he told his Christ-story. In Acts 22 he was speaking to an unruly crowd of people in Jerusalem who accused Paul of disrespecting God’s law and dishonoring the temple. His testimony fell neatly into three parts.
What I was like before I met Christ. In Acts 22:1-5, Paul told where he was born and recounted that he had been trained in Judaism by one of the most famous rabbis of the day, Gamaliel. He became so passionate about serving the God of Israel that he willingly and mercilessly persecuted the followers of Jesus Christ.
Paul never dwelt long on the past in telling his Christ-story. But he never forgot or excused it either. The past reminded Paul that in his self-righteous zeal, he was the chief of sinners. We all, in common with Paul, have a sinful past. I was only ten years old when I became a believer. But I realized even at that age that I had a sin-problem. Christian parents raised me from day one. But I too had a sin-problem. I hadn’t persecuted or killed anyone as Paul had done. But I was as guilty of sin as Paul and everyone else who ever lived. My sin kept me from truly knowing God and loving Him.
I was lost. I was without hope.
How I met and came to believe in Christ. In Acts 22:6-16, Paul described the life-changing encounter he had with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. Jesus clearly took the initiative in the encounter. Christ came looking for Paul, not vice versa. He knew Paul before Paul knew Him, and He loved Paul before Paul loved Him.
The same is true in every believer’s Christ-story. My parents told me stories about Jesus even before I could talk. I went to church with them as a child and listened to Sunday School teachers as they told me stories about Jesus from the Bible. I could answer a lot of questions about Jesus at a young age. But I didn’t really know Him the way He wanted—as Savior and Lord—until one night at church I heard him call my name. It wasn’t the preacher calling me. It wasn’t my parents. Jesus was calling me by name to come to Him and be saved. The memory of that night still makes my eyes well up with tears. I realized that Jesus died for my sins and was raised from the dead to give me new life. And like Martha in John 11:26, I could hear Jesus asking me, “Do you believe this?” I answered, “Yes, Jesus. I believe in You.”
What Christ is doing in me now. In Acts 22:17-21, Paul explained that Christ had instructed him to take the gospel to non-Jewish people groups beyond Jerusalem. He would face constant opposition and danger in carrying out his mission, but Christ would continue to be with Paul and help him. The remainder of the Book of Acts reveals that Christ kept His promises to Paul, never forsaking the apostle and giving him opportunity after opportunity to tell others about the gospel.
I too can testify that my salvation encounter with Christ at age ten was just the beginning. He continues to work in me and through me, giving me peace, purpose, and hope for the future. I look forward to one day seeing the Savior face to face. I know that I will fall down before Him in gratitude and reverence. Such is the hope—the never-ending final chapter—of every believer’s Christ-story.
Who would love to hear you tell your Christ-story today?
David Briscoe is a content editor at Lifeway for Explore the Bible resources.