As Americans, we love talking about ourselves. We think we are the center of the universe and think that everything revolves around us. This kind of self-focus has trickled down to the pulpit and has done a great disservice to American Christianity. Unfortunately, it affects the way we preach and evangelize to one another. What is more important: our personal story (testimony) or God’s story?
Something that really irks me is when, on Wednesday night (or Sunday morning), there is a guest speaker that shares their personal story of transformation (and that is the extent of the sermon or “teaching”) with the congregation INSTEAD of preaching the Word of God. Now, I am not saying that because I am anti-testimonies. I say that because we, as Christians, grow when he hear the Gospel preached to us. But perhaps even more importantly, there are people in the audience that have no clue who Jesus is and what He has accomplished. Whose story has more power: Jesus’ or ours? Which one is going to transform lives? Which is going to be the means of replacing a heart of stone with a heart of flesh? Although a testimony may be encouraging and fun to listen to, IT IS NOT THE GOSPEL! The Gospel is Jesus’ perfect life, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. It is about the empty tomb. If our stories are preached instead of God’s story during church services, how are we (Christians) going to spiritually mature and how is the non-Christian going to be saved? As remarkable and miraculous of a story that Paul had, he proclaimed nothing but “Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). This is the danger we have in sharing our testimony at all: it may not always lead to the Cross. Now I’m not going to say that telling someone your testimony is ALWAYS a bad thing, because I do not think that is true. But if the Gospel is not the focus, then something is wrong. God’s stories are ALWAYS better than our own.
My personal testimony: I am sinner in need of a savior. Miraculously, and ill deservingly, God saved me.
We need to remember whose story we a part of, who the main character is, and who the supporting characters are. What do you think?