Our story shapes who we are. It explains how we have gone from what WAS to what IS. Our stories are all different; no story is the same. What story am I referring to? I am referring to the story of how each of us was brought to Christ, and what He has done in our lives since then. I am convinced that God has given each of us a different story to tell for a reason. Even though we all contribute collectively to THE story of the Gospel, I believe God has given each of us a specific story for a reason. No matter how tumultuous or trying our story may be, is it not possible that God gave us that story for a reason? One of the greatest evangelistic tools God has given us is our own experiences…our own story.
Many times, we think we need to know all the Scriptures, all the answers, and all the different approaches and methods before we ever try to evangelize or win souls. This can lead even the best of us to have an extreme fear of ever pursuing someone spiritually. The beauty of God giving us all a different story is that even if we have not achieved an exhaustive knowledge in the Scriptures, approaches, or methods, we all can simply tell our story. Though each of us has been challenged and asked to devote ourselves always to be ready to give a defense (1 Peter 3:15) and to study the Word of God (II Timothy 2:15), some of us have a hard time remembering the exact book, chapter, and verse. Some of us have difficulty recalling the exact place in the pressure of the moment. If that is you, I hope this article helps.
The beauty of our different stories is the fact that MY story may not be able to reach the same audience that YOUR story may be able to reach. The differences in our stories are what make us able to reach different audiences. Personally, I would have no idea what it would be like to not have been raised in the Church. Therefore, I might have a more difficult time understanding or evangelizing someone who was not raised in the Faith, than a person who has a similar story to empathize with them. God can use our personal experiences in His mission in soul saving. If you are not convinced of that, just think about the life of Paul.
Just take a moment to think about the tremendous impact Paul’s story made on those who were struggling with the thought of leaving the Jewish faith. Paul of Tarsus, a man who was raised according to the strictest measure of the Law (Acts 22:3), lived in the strictest party of the Jewish religion (Acts 26:5), a Pharisee of Pharisees (Philippians 3:5), a Hebrew of Hebrews (Philippians 3:5), a man who studied at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), of the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5), a man who persecuted Christians to the death (Acts 22:4), and a blameless follower of the Mosaic Law (Philippians 3:6). Why would a man like THIS give it all up to become a Christian? In the immediate context of the attributes just listed, Paul answers this question in Philippians 3:7-8, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ…”
Paul’s story was not something that he kept hidden; it was something he was not only compelled to share but happy to share (cf. Acts 22; 26). His story played a part in converting thousands in his lifetime, and thousands upon thousands through his writings. Just imagine, if he had kept his story to himself. Where would the Church be today? You see, Paul understood that God had chosen him for a reason, that God had chosen a man with his kind of story to help convert OTHERS with his similar story. Who has God been preparing you to reach with the Gospel? Who out there has a similar story to yours and is just waiting for someone to show them the way?
Many times, the vulnerability involved in sharing our story with someone can keep us from ever daring to open up. The Psalmist says, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul,” Psalm 66:16. If only we could have the same boldness and willingness to share what God has done for our souls. If we could but share with others how Christ has taken us from darkness and brought us into His marvelous light. If we could but share the change that following Christ has brought to our life with others. If only we would be willing to say to our co-workers, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, classmates, and family, “I would love to take a minute and tell you about what Jesus has done for me.” Why is that so hard to do? The fact is, it is not hard; many times we just decide not to.
In Luke 8:26-39, we read about what happened to a man named Legion who had been possessed by many demons for a long time according to the account. Jesus rids the poor man of the demons who had possessed him and made him the fear of the entire town. The gift Jesus had given him compelled him to want to never leave His side. Just listen to this passage, “Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.’ And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.” What Christ has done for us is far greater than what He did for this man; Christ has promised us eternal life with Him. When was the last time that we proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Christ has done for us? If Legion did it for the gift he received in his mortal life, can we not do it for the gift we have received of eternal life?
This is evangelism made simple, as simple as it gets. I do not have your story; you do not have mine. Our stories in conjunction with the story of Jesus is able and powerful enough to save EVERY single person on this planet if only we would be willing to tell them. We spend so much time focusing on worrying about having all the right answers when I think that the simplicity of our own story could be just as effective in soul winning. If only we lived out the 1873 hymn by Fanny J. Crosby, “Blessed Assurance,” we so often sing:
“This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long.”
-Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism