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Sun, Jun 08, 2014

The Power of a Personal Experience

The Power of a Personal Experience

by Andrew Fuller

The world will challenge even the most well supported cases for Christ and the merits of our beliefs. Consider:

1) the existence of God, 2) creation vs. evolution, and 3) there being only one way to salvation. This should not surprise us and in fact, the Bible teaches that spiritual wisdom is not understood without God’s revelation:

  But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2: 14)  

Understanding what we believe is important because Satan will use anything he can to tempt us to doubt. For example, without a foundational understanding of how science supports his Christian beliefs, a student may be prone to stumble when challenged by a professor. However, while apologetics are useful to protect us from stumbling, they are seldom an effective evangelistic tool. In fact, such debates may do more harm than good because they can tempt us to be prideful. At the end of such an argument, while we may convince someone of our superior debating skills, we are unlikely to convince them of their need for Christ.

However, sharing one’s personal testimony of how Jesus has changed him or her can be an effective tool when faced with the temptation to engage in such a debate.

 

The evidence of one’s personal experience can actually defuse a debate because it cannot really be rebutted. Consider the response of the blind man from John chapter 9.

  He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25)  

This succinct comment closed the debate because even the Pharisees could clearly tell the man could see. In the same way, the evidence is clear for the child of God because we have been changed. This is so powerful because it gets at the crux of the matter: we are all sinners and we all need to be changed. This concept may be foolishness when applying worldly wisdom, but the Holy Spirit is in the business of convicting the world of its sin (John 16:8). This is when a personal testimony becomes more than just a debate stopper, but can be used to help others spiritually discern that Jesus is the only way to be set free from sin. Furthermore, since Jesus did it all, it is a natural deflection to glorify Him, leaving no room for pride about winning an argument.

Personal testimonies shouldn’t be restricted to the change that occurred the day we repented and put our trust in Jesus. Examples of how God continues to teach us and help us overcome are also useful. Our life experiences are all different and expand over time, however the theme our testimonies should all have in common is Christ enabling us to overcome sin. Whether sharing a born again life changing testimony or examples of continued strength He gives to overcome, Jesus’ life changing impact should be evident to an individual searching for freedom from sin. Let’s all be challenged to allow God to use our own personal testimonies to draw men and women to Himself.