This is the third, and final, installment of this week’s series on sharing your spiritual story. For part one on telling about your life before meeting God, click here. For part two on sharing how you became a Christian, click here.
Today, we’re going back to the story of Paul to see how he shares his “after.”
“Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, ‘He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me.”
Paul goes on to keep describing his life after becoming a Christian in the next chapter, but you get the picture. He didn’t give up his new-found faith; he found community with other Christians and started preaching so readily that people were glorifying God because of his transformation.
So what should you mention when talking about your life after becoming a Christian?
1. Admit that you didn’t automatically become perfect. Paul starts by saying “after three years.” Now, I don’t know what he was doing in those three years, but I think it’s safe to reason he probably wasn’t boldly preaching the Gospel – that came later. It’s ok to mention that you still struggle with sin and that your life isn’t pain-free. In fact, you should mention that.
In his book, Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman says, “Jesus invites you to ‘take up your cross…‘ That is often where we leave His invitation. But the next word makes all the difference. The word is ‘daily.’ ‘…take up your cross daily.’ Dying to ourselves is not a one-time decision. It’s a daily decision..” There was another section of his book that relates, but I couldn’t find it so I’ll just summarize. Basically, he was told the story of a pastor in Eastern Europe during the time when Russia was communist and the Soviet Union was still in existence. Two men wanted to become Christians, but instead of excitedly offering to pray with them, the pastor told them to sit down. He told them they would probably be killed for their decision to follow God. Their families would be in jeopardy and they would have trouble keeping a job or going about normal life. Idleman’s point in telling this is that we shouldn’t make out Christianity to be a walk in the park. After you become a Christian, life might actually be harder. You don’t need to hide this from whoever you’re talking to. Make sure they know what they’re signing up for.
2. However, on the flip side, make sure you share the joy and peace that comes from having a relationship with God. Admit that life is hard, but reassure them that a hard life with God is so much better than what the world says is an easy life without God.
3. Mention specific ways your life changed. Maybe after you became a Christian, you stopped gossiping and judging people so often and were able to find some really solid friendships through that. Talk about it. Focus on your transformation. After you becoming a Christian, you don’t just keeping living life. It’s not a blip in your life; it becomes your entire life.
Now it’s your turn, what’s your story?