Read Paul's testimony in Acts 22:1-21. Note how he divides his talk into three sections.
Before Paul became a Christian verses 1 - 5
How Paul became a Christian verses 6 - 16
After Paul became a Christian verses 17 - 21
Your Own Conviction? is written for a Muslim audience.
Good themes for testimonies to Muslims include:
Knowing God in a personal way
- The realization that I am sinful and unacceptable to God - even though I do religious things
- The assurance of salvation and eternal life
Security is about a person who became a Christian early in life.
by Bob Prouty
As a child, my Dad was the final authority. What he believed, I believed. But as a teenager I began to rebel. I started to develop my own convictions. I began posting signs on my bedroom door stating the things that I strongly believed in.
When I got to university my flatmate got me questioning the religious beliefs I grew up with. He said "Bob, what difference has your religion made in your life?" After thinking about it I came to the conclusion that my religion hadn't made any difference in my life. I believed that God existed, but felt distant and isolated from him. I was trying to do the right things…. But I was frustrated that I failed to live up to my own standards.
I wanted to be close to God. My flatmate said that if I worked harder and prayed 40 minutes a day that I would soon come to know God. I decided to give it a go. But after a year of this I still felt so far from God. My flatmate's method wasn't changing my life either.
During the school break I read a booklet about Knowing God Personally. It told me that God loves me and wants to have a close personal friendship with me. It said that the reason I do not feel close to God is because I have not lived up to His standard -- perfect obedience. Only Jesus has lived a perfect life. You remember how when Abraham was going to offer his son as a sacrifice, that God provided a lamb to die in his place? Well the booklet said that God provided the Great Lamb, Jesus, who died in our place and that everyone who acknowledges what Jesus has done will have their sins forgiven and experience a close relationship with God.
The booklet got me thinking. But I wondered, "Does this work in real life?" When I got back to Uni., my new flatmate invited me to a Christian gathering. It was different from anything I had ever seen. People my age were talking about how Jesus had made a difference in their lives. Several told how Jesus had given them the power to stop doing drugs. I was impressed. I wasn't into the drug scene, but the changes in their lives convinced me that Jesus could make a difference in my life if I let him. That night I prayed out loud a short prayer, "Jesus, take control." The words were not important - it was my attitude God looked at. He saw that I was counting on Jesus' sacrifice to make me acceptable to God.
Over the next month I noticed a number of changes in my life. I found myself becoming less prejudice - and enjoying talking to all sorts of people who I would have never talked with in the past. I also found myself feeling closer to God - really wanting to read the words of Jesus and discovering how they made a difference in my attitudes and actions.
The next school term I had a new flatmate, and he spent the rest of the year trying to talk me out of my faith in Jesus. His arguments forced me to do a lot of research and a lot of hard thinking. Jesus said he is "the way, the truth and the life" and that he is the only way to God. I believe that NOT because of what other people say, but because I have researched it on my own and found it to be a true fact which can change your life.
Where are you in your spiritual journey? Are the convictions you are holding today your own - or are they someone else's?
by Chris Prouty
There is a Charlie Brown comic strip I saw once where Charlie Brown was asked "What is security". He replies, "security is knowing you won't be called on to recite". Charlie Brown is then seen going to Linus' to ask the same question to which Linus answers "security is having a blanket and a thumb". Charlie Brown goes on to find out what his good old pal Snoopy , would say. Snoopy leans on Charlie Brown's shoulder to which the caption goes on to say "Security is having someone to lean on". Charlie Brown concluded that security meant different things to different people.
As I look back on my life I would describe myself as being "insecure" and trying desperately to create a sense of security. As Snoopy would've put it, security was having people to "lean on". The more friends I had around me the better it was, I thought.
My first eight years of schooling I had many friends. Everyone came from a farm and went to the same church. When I went to high school no longer were there people around me whom I knew to lean on for a sense of approval. I didn't feel secure in the situations so I tried making friends. I found myself trying so hard to make friends that I'd give answers to assignments to anyone who would come and talk to me thinking it would be a start of a friendship.
But all through high school I'd be so busy trying to be and do what others asked of me that I found myself compromising my values and morals I was brought up with. For example, I'd go out drinking because my peers did and when they asked me to go -- how could I turn them down? And yet I wasn't being totally accepted, I'd find myself alone. I refused to accept the fact that my friends weren't perfect because they were all I had to lean on for security.
Naturally, this "people pleasing" game continued when I went to university. I wanted to be friends with my flatmate seeing I had to live with her. So whatever she'd do, I'd do. I also; wanted to be with my friend Sandy and when she asked me if I'd go with her to a Christian organisation I went with her gladly. What I observed there was something I really liked. The people didn't seem fake. And for once I didn't have to try to make friends. In fact people came to me and wanted to know who I was. They made me feel comfortable.
My lifestyle was like a pendulum. Part of the week I'd go with the girls on the floor and other times I'd go with Sandy and her friends. I started to get frustrated. I was being torn. What group would I put my security in? I went to one girl in the dorm to give me a little insight. She told me God's perspective.
She told me that God loved me now, right where I was and that He wanted to be my best friend. He would never make me do something I didn't want to do, but allowed me to be free. I now realised what I had done at age 14. At church I had always heard of Jesus and His death to pay for my sins. One Sunday I asked Jesus Christ into my heart as my Lord and Saviour. But through the years no one showed me that I could rely on God and His promises. No matter what I do, His promise will stand true. One real special promise in the Bible is where Jesus says "I will never leave you nor forsake you".
By having the greatness of God's love pointed out to me my life took a big turn. I no longer felt bound to pleasing every person I came in contact with. I felt free and secure to make my own decisions.
I need to mention that this sense of security in God has been a process. It hasn't been anything I have done.
Knowing God loves and accepts me, I don't have to depend on other people's love and acceptance. I can now feel secure. For example, God has given me the boldness to talk with you -- something I would not have done before I became convinced of God's acceptance. He truly has given me a purpose and direction in life which makes me secure.