The Dangerous Trend of Sharing “Personal” Testimonies in Place of The Gospel

Before I begin this blog, I wanted to give a special thank you to M. I have been writing on the platforms the Lord has given me since 2017. Though I do all I do for the Lord and unto the Lord with no expectation, it was such a blessing to my heart and unto my home your donation to this ministry. God is faithful. If I never receive anymore from anyone else, just know, my dear sister, how special that was for me – and so timely.

It is no strange thing nowadays to be at a church or on the internet and see personal testimonies of professing believers from near and far. Almost every sinful detail of things they have ever done before the Lord saved them laid before everyone- over and over and over again. Most times accompanied with a picture or two, or nowadays sometimes a whole video, and then towards the very end it is a “But God!” moment. If anyone has been around this blog long enough, then they know I too once years ago did the same in sharing my life’s personal testimony in a long thoughtful post, for at the time I thought it was my Christian duty. And not too long afterwards I was receiving emails from other blogs, podcasts, Christian TV and radio stations, speaking event coordinators, and so forth. Some I even shortly entertained. But I am here to tell you today in love and biblical wisdom that sharing your very personal testimony of all your sins past is actually not what God meant at all when He says in His Word “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” And because I once helped set that wrong example in ignorance, it is only right for me to teach the Truth and set the biblical example now as I see more and more partake.

“Your personal testimony, however meaningful it is to you, is not the gospel.”

R.C. Sproul

Before I begin on this topic, I want it to be understood that personal testimonies are not bad, per se. It is more so that they are not necessary and also most times are given unwisely. They are not the Gospel , which is the “good news” of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ who came down from heaven as God in the flesh to die for the sins of fallen man so that by His blood we, His children at salvation by faith through grace, could be reconciled with God the Father forever and being blessed with the Holy Spirit the Comforter to reside in us. That any lost souls now by the grace of God if they be drawn of Him can repent of their sins anywhere and abide with Him for eternity. The veil is torn! This is the gospel. This is the good news that transforms lives! Not how I sinned or you sinned and then throwing in at the end that God changed us. Though this is good, it is not the gospel – and it neither should be confused with evangelism (though sometimes it can open the door to it). For the Word says in Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'”

And, as always, I never just want anyone to take my word for it, but God’s. So let’s head further into the Scriptures, dear sisters!

Go into all the world…

No example in the Word of the apostles, prophets, or anyone used of God ever standing up to tell of all the things they have done prior to knowing the Lord. Their life calling was to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

  • It is the gospel that brings on refining persecution and sanctification.

Paul was not imprisoned, beaten repeatedly, and eventually martyred for talking about himself with a feel good ending attached – but for proclaiming the good news. As were many other Christians before and after him.

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14)

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God…” (2 Timothy 1:8)

  • They also lived lives that testified of Christ.

Daniel says, “It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.” (4:2)

  • The gospel has always been a powerful hope and transforming lives even before the writing of the New Testament.

“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’ So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” (Galations 3:8-9)

But, what about the Samaritan woman at the well?

I will share some Scriptures from John 4 below of her encounter with Christ and her immediate actions following…

13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.

17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:

18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,

29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

She did not go and start telling everyone that she used to go from husband to husband and her life story and that she is now different because she met Christ. No, she said “Come and see (for yourself) a man who told me all the things I ever done” and they went. She pointed them to Jesus and not unto herself. Only He and the evidence of who He is has the power to break the yoke and set other captives free too.

Watch out for pride.

Before you share your own story, really ask yourself why? Am I really wanting to give God glory or is this an undermine way to bring myself glory without doing it outright? Vainglory is vanity. Especially if you glory in your past life of sin and hell, for it is nothing to be proud of. I would ask God to reveal to me the current state of my heart and repent. And if you glory in how far you have come, it better be to the glory of God alone! For without Him, you would still be where you were. It is Him. Only Him and should ever only be about and pointing to Him. All else is vanity. Just as when people post photos of themselves and then throw on it a Scripture or some motivational Jesus talk, but the heart’s motive is truly to draw attention to self – not God. Been there, done that, repented of it … and now I am warning you to examine your heart and ask the Lord, as David, to try it ( Psalm 26:2 and Psalms 139:23).

The truth is people do not need to know everything about us. Though I am not ashamed of my past, I neither glorify it or in it. I have done many dark things for I was a wretched and condemned sinner, and my witness now is that now I am a born-again believer. I was once dead, but now I am alive. I was once blind, but now I see. I once loved darkness, and now I love light. Thank God He saved a wretch like me! It was and still is and always will be Jesus! Who lived, died, and rose again so that I might know Him. What love! Such grace!

This trend has also led to many young and older Christians alike envying other Christian’s previous lives before the Lord, as if Christians coveting after each other’s lives in the present is not enough of a spiritual battle still ongoing. They are left wanting a “bigger” testimony. Wishing they had lived darker lives of sin before Christ so that people could look at them (not even Christ) and now say “Wow!”. Discontent in being who they are and where God already brought them from. And to those Christians who think such thoughts, I say to you today, you know not what you really think. What God has done for you is beyond extraordinary – as is. Your heart in this matter is wrong and may the Holy Spirit search you out and convict you to your repentance for your spiritual betterment. Those who compare themselves among themselves are not wise (2 Corinthians 2:12).

 “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”

– Galations 5:26

And, if you are ever led by the Spirit to bear witness of what God has done in your life, do it with Godly wisdom – and not to convert an unbeliever, but to encourage another in Christ.

For an unbeliever needs to hear the gospel. The evidence of a Living Savior. Not just how I used to have panic attacks and now after being saved I do not. I am not trying to convince anyone to “try” Christ for their temporary earthly problems, but to *know* Him and His abounding love for their eternal spiritual liberation. If you do share things you struggled with before salvation, the sharing of the gospel should immediately proceed that.

Sometimes, however, I may now privately bear witness with another sister in Christ of what the Lord has done in my life and where He has brought me from, but no longer publicly – for all things are not profitable to every ear. Reread that. But instead I do so to encourage another sister who may currently be going through the same. This is biblical.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

– 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

What is the testimony then?

Oh, that is rather simple and given plainly by God Himself.

“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” – 1 John 5:11-12

This is our Christian duty to share and show. This is the Word of our testimony.

“Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.”

Mark 5:19

The gospel is not about me. The gospel is not about you. The gospel is about Christ.

Go and tell the world the great things the Lord has done in his compassion towards you – His life, death, and resurrection!

Testify of the wonderful things He has done! (Psalm 22:22)

With understanding and truth,

The Redeemed Wife

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14

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