Testimony - a short declaration of belief. Words with the power to change lives, end suffering and overcome all opposition. The greatest gift that one can be given. The greatest accomplishment that one can achieve.
I have been thinking a lot about my own testimony this last little while. Each day it seems to be my greatest weapon and defense. We walk around as lights in a cloud of darkness, trying to brighten the paths of others. In Matthew 5:16 the Lord commands, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." We are to go around and glorify the Father through our works. The bearing of testimony is one of those great works.
One of the struggles that I have had recently is trying to effectively bear my testimony. I feel that there are so many parts to my testimony that when someone asks, "Why do you believe what you believe?" I get lost in the memory bank of all my testimony building experiences. The questions pop into my head, "Which experience should I relate? How do I tell someone what I know in such a short amount of time?" Because of this struggle, I have come to understand the purpose of testimony.
In the book of Acts, there is a situation where Peter testifies to the people and, "when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart" (Acts 2:37). Peter brought the Spirit unto their hearts and because of that they, "said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?" The purpose of testimony is to give someone an opportunity to act. It is to enable someone to have a fair opportunity to exercise their agency. When someone's heart is "pricked," they are humbled and have an equal opportunity to accept or reject the message they have just received. They are no longer weighed down by a hardened heart when it is pricked by testimony. At this critical moment, we have our chance to invite. We have the opportunity to invite someone to change, to repent of their sins and come unto Christ.
I started off this post by saying that testimony is a brief statement of belief. It is a powerful statement that creates an opportunity to invite. When you tell someone that you "know" something is true, say it with confidence. If you know that a principle of the Gospel is true, tell people! There is not much someone can say to that. They may respond with, "You cant know something like that... or how do you know for sure?" At this point in time you have your opportunity to invite. Explain to them that a person can come to "know," and invite them to learn more. Don't get lost in the memory bank of all your testimony building experiences trying to explain why you believe something. You can never fully explain to someone how you felt when you had a spiritual experience. However, you can invite them to experience the same things that you have experienced through exercising faith in Jesus Christ. Use your testimony for good. Bring our Heavenly Father's children back to Him by opening your mouth. Remember, a short statement of belief can change lives. I know this is true and say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.