Most professional or organizational websites feature biographies of their leaders. Why? Because people are interested in knowing more about the people who make up the organizations they support. They want to know what makes these people credible, what experiences they’ve had in life, how their background has led them to where they are in their field. But what if biographies were focused entirely on a person’s earliest years, say between ages zero and fifteen? There would be much missing from that biography, including how that person grew into maturity, what she had accomplished, where she had led, how she had lived her life.
Sometimes the church gets stuck in a similar situation. We ask people to share their testimonies of faith in Jesus and we get stories of early faith: “I trusted Jesus when I was at vacation Bible school as a five-year-old” or “I came to faith through a campus ministry.” While these are a great launching point, our stories are so much bigger and broader than just how and when we placed our faith in Jesus. We want to be a people who not only celebrate the beginning of someone’s faith but who celebrate the journey as well.
We must be a people who constantly tell our unfolding stories. While sharing our testimonies and explaining how we came to faith is important, sharing the stories of what God has done in our lives since that time can be equally, if not more, powerful. When asked to give our stories, we need to ask ourselves, “How has God proved Himself good and faithful in my life this year/ this month/ this week? What can I share about God’s ongoing work in my faith journey?”
When we share stories of God’s recent work in our lives, we testify to the fact that the Holy Spirit is continually at work among His people. When we first come to faith, the Bible tells us, we are like spiritual infants who feed on spiritual milk—and rightly so, because we need to learn the basics of what we believe and how to walk with God. Yet God wants us to continue growing and maturing, eventually becoming people who set aside milk and consume solid spiritual food (1 Corinthians 3:1–3). Our early days with Jesus are a vital part of our stories, but they’re not the whole story. We keep growing and learning and maturing the longer we follow Jesus. These stories matter too. We want to remind others that God is not done with us when He brings us to salvation. He is in a lifelong process of forming and conforming us to look, act, and think more like Jesus—until, in eternity, we are actually like Jesus (1 John 3:2–3).
We have the opportunity before us to vulnerably and humbly express to others what we are learning, how we have failed, what God has brought us through, and how we have experienced victory in Christ. We have the chance to complete our spiritual biographies so others can see not only how Jesus moved in our lives to bring us to initial faith, but how He is producing in us an ongoing walk of faith.