I sat there as he talked about how great God was and all He had done through him. Story after story, I heard of how He heard the Holy Spirit, followed His direction, and how God had worked through him.
What I felt surprised me. It made my story of transformation pale in comparison. And I wanted to shrink into my seat. I felt as if I had nothing to contribute to the conversation.
I left with a spirit I can’t explain. It wasn’t positive and uplifting but like a dark cloud hanging over me. And I wondered why.
Why was it I didn’t celebrate and joyfully accept what God had done through him? There was something that didn’t set right and I couldn’t put my finger on it.
I prayed, asking God what I could learn from the experience. He gently whispered, “Daughter, your story, your testimony, should be more about what I’ve done inside of you than what I’m doing through you.” As I begin to think about that, it made perfect sense. There’s a humility that comes with admitting how God has worked in your life, chiseling the sharp spots and fine tuning me into the woman He created me to be. People respond to humility, identify with the struggle to truly follow Christ, and they can put themselves in that same position.
Telling of how God has used you to reach others doesn’t necessarily have the same positive influence. If done in a spirit of haughtiness, it actually can turn people away even though it’s not our intent. Or it makes them wonder why God isn’t doing the same through them. If God is working THROUGH your life, others already know it, they SEE it. The fruit of His hand is on display for all to see and rarely does anything need to be said about it.
Many times, when God is working inside of you, it isn’t seen. There’s an intimacy in this relationship experience and some of these moments are meant to be private, viewed as a personal experience with God that only you share with Him. For instance, in your relationship with your spouse, if you shared every meaningful moment you had together with others, it would cheapen the value of your experiences together. What makes a relationship truly intimate are those personal, private moments that only the two of us share. I view that to be true in our relationship with God as well.
But I have no doubt there are times when He wants us to share with others what He is doing in our life. He wants us to be vulnerable and real with them in a way they can relate. When this is shared with a spirit of humility, everything you say points back to the Holy Spirit at work in your life.
There is significantly more power in a testimony that is wholly about God and His hand in your life than in a testimony that is about what you have done.
I’m not saying that I think you should never tell others what God is doing through you, but I believe there takes a considerable amount of wisdom when you do. This is not at all about us and there never needs to be any hint that it is.
God has worked both inside my life and through my life. But what I have learned recently is that I am going to focus on sharing what God has done inside of me. I’m going to use my life stories, experiences, and heart talks with Him to show others what a deep relationship with our Father can be. I’m going to admit my shortcomings and tell of times when God used scripture, other people, or situations to speak directly to my heart and what I learned from these experiences. And in an effort to protect against pride, both real and perceived, I’m going to pray and seek His wisdom before I talk about what He has done through me.
Before you speak, always ask: Is what I’m about to say going to focus so much on my life of obedience that Jesus is overshadowed? If so, Stop. Tell them instead about what He has done inside of you.