Why are Testimonies Important?
Which passages of Scripture do you remember most? The stories like David and Goliath, Noah, and Moses parting the Red Sea? Or are you more of a fact-finding person, remembering the details of what every elder, husband, woman, child, and slave were commanded to do?
Typically, people are way more impacted by a story than a list of facts and numbers given.
Christy Wright explained why stories are so important, in her book, Business Boutique. She wrote,
“Believe it or not, our brains are actually wired for story. Years ago, researchers wanted to understand why storytelling is so effective. They did a study where they set up a scenario with a public speaker and a volunteer audience. The speaker and audience members were connected to an MRI machine to show their brain activity. As the speaker told a story, certain areas of the speaker’s brain were activated and, at the exact same moment, the exact same areas of the listeners’ brains were activated. The researchers called this, “brain coupling.”
The impact of a story not only effects the person sharing it but the listener as well. How many times have you heard the saying, “My friend’s, mother’s, brother-in-law’s, dad once had this happen to him…?” The story doesn’t even have to be ours personally to remember it.
According to Miriam Webster’s dictionary, among a number of descriptions, a testimony is a,
- “Firsthand authentication of a fact: evidence.
- An outward sign
- A public profession of religious experience
- A divine decree attested in Scripture”
Therefore, a testimony often times shows the evidence of God’s work and presence in our lives. They are giving Him the glory and declaring His good towards us.
The Lord told Moses to write down Israel’s experience in Egypt and beyond, as well as all the statutes and ordinances He gave them.
“Only be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you don’t forget the things your eyes have seen and so that they don’t slip from your mind as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your grandchildren.” Deuteronomy 4:5
The Lord then told the next leader, Joshua, to remember the instructions of the book of the Law that Moses had recorded.
“This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.” Joshua 1:8
So, not only was the story and instructions supposed to be recorded, they were also to be remembered. People didn’t have books accessible in ancient times. Words were written on tablets, rock, or scrolls and were only typically given to leaders and kings. Most people didn’t even know how to write. Therefore, everyone else had to memorize important documents.
The people of Israel were to share the story and the Law with their family day and night. I picture them sitting around the fire before bed and recalling the story of God’s power and deliverance from Egypt to their children. The more they told the story and the commands, the more their children would remember as they grew older and would treasure it in their hearts.
What was the big deal about knowing the story in the first place? Wouldn’t everyone just follow what the leader told them to do?
Well, we can see evidence of what happens when they didn’t. Joshua was faithful to the Lord and following the instructions He gave him. However, after Joshua and the elders serving with him passed away, the Israelites stopped sharing the story and commands.
“After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works He had done for Israel. The Israelites did what was evil in the LORD’S sight. They worshipped the Baals, and abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt.” Judges 2:11-12
Within one generation, the story and commands were lost. The Israelites abandoned the Lord. They rejected Him and did whatever they wanted, which was evil. They forgot His goodness and took His grace for granted.
The apostle Paul had many God encounters throughout his ministry. He had the mission of traveling throughout Gentile territory sharing the gospel message of Jesus, and the peace that He offered to the world. Because of the gospel and the stories Paul shared of what was happening in all the places he had been, people were coming to salvation in Jesus and being greatly encouraged in their faith.
“After they had evangelized that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, strengthening the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith…
After they arrived and gathered the church together, they reported everything God had done with them and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then the whole assembly fell silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul describing all the signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.” Acts 14:21-22, 27, 15:12
Testimonies are important and transformational. They turn your eyes to the Lord and remind you of His great power and grace. They cause you to give Him glory and declare His goodness in your life. It helps to build the relationship between Him and you too.
It can be easy to forget God’s love and presence in your life at times. That’s why consistently spending time in the Bible is so important. The Lord uses current testimonies to prove that He is the same God now as He was in ancient times. Sharing stories of how the Lord has worked in your life encourages others in their faith as well. It can be as simple as a word the Lord shared with you to as phenomenal as Him raising someone from death.
Moments you’ve encountered the presence of the Lord, or even just heard about it, has the possibility to transform someone else’s life. This is why sharing it is so powerful. You never know how your story will lead another person towards the gospel, or keep them from turning away from Jesus.
Do you have a testimony to share? I’d love to hear about it. Send me an email or message, and we’ll look at opportunities to share with the Hope Through Hard Times community!