DISCOVERING AND SHARING YOUR LIFE MESSAGE (SESSION 5)
I. Introduction: Your life message is your testimony of faith. It comes from the story of God’s redemption from past pain and hurt, that flows with God’s special plan and purpose to make a difference on behalf of others. I like to think of it like the pearls in an oyster that were formed in pain to become a treasure to benefit others.
Some key observations about your testimony and life message
1. It is the way God illustrates the gospel to the world and makes it simple to understand because they can read it through a life. We see in I Timothy 1:16, after confessing Paul was “the chief sinner” he says, “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in/through me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” (NIV)
It helps make something eternally needed, immediately understandable and receivable to other sinners.
2. It is the light of a story that shines on God in a way that brings Him ultimate glory and moves people from being skeptical to seeing a reason to consider God.
3. It frames a picture for others to consider looking at their own pain in a different way. It allows us to see our sad stories from the perspective of faith in a sovereign God, who can liberate even the worst parts of our past for His redemptive purposes. (Joseph Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28). God never says OOPS. He has a purpose. God never wastes a hurt or a tear. He always plans a testimony. Only God can turn traumas into victories!
4. It is an area where you have the gift of faith and special authority with Christ to overcome the enemy and change the atmosphere around you. The two greatest weapons we have are the blood of the Lamb-the finished work of Christ, and the word of our testimony.
“They overcame by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony because they did not love their life even to the point of death.” Revelation 12:11
Giving our testimony is a way we get to remind the devil of his defeat over and over, and build our faith for God to deliver us in the next battle we face.
5. Our testimony is an inheritance we have more valuable than any physical asset.
It is a pearl through which God can use to create faith in others. It is a gift we get to give to others.
“I have inherited your testimonies forever, for they are the joy of my heart.” Psalms 119:111 NASB
“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy." Revelation 19:10
The word testimony in Hebrew means “Do it again.” Our testimony is a prophecy of both our future blessing and the future blessing we can inspire in others.
Once you establish your testimony, you will always fight today’s battles in light of yesterday’s victories with greater faith. You will also have faith others can tap into for a miracle. This becomes part of your “faith zone.” (Examples in my life… Ian’s story, faith for recovery after my fall, depression, Sharon’s disease, immunity).
6. Telling your story is a key to claiming and being grounded in your identity. The sanctification process involves getting your identity from the periphery to the core of your identity. Every time you tell it you become more grounded in part of who you really are in Christ. Story and identity go together.
“…That the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” Philemon 1:6 NKJV
Satan wants God’s work in your life to be a blip on the radar screen; God wants it to be armor in your closet you wear as your identity. We want to challenge people: “Don’t let Satan convince you that your testimony is a blip.” We want to tell them to be determined to make it a piece of permanent armor they continually wear and a standard of faith (seed) they plant to expect greater things!
(The example of the man who had a legion of demons cast out. His first assignment was to go tell everyone he knew what God had done. He was going to be solidified in his new identity, before the demons could try to deceive his mind again).
7. Your testimony never grows old. It is meant to be continuously weaved into the message you give of your life. When it becomes weaved into the story of your family, it becomes part of the legacy your children carry on. They automatically stand on the shoulders of your faith and can easily write greater stories with God in their lives that their children can exceed.
8. It is unequivocally tied to your purpose.
“…Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Cor. 1:4 NKJV
9. It is something people can’t argue with and can defeat the voice of skeptics no matter how smart they think they are. (Acts 3) One of the powerful things to remember is that God has called us to be witnesses, not prosecuting attorneys. Just give the story and the evidence and the craftiest opposition loses power. Testimony is the great equalizer in ministry. Your story matters more than how smart you are or how smooth you can talk or even how long you’ve been a Christian.
II. Your story becomes most effective when you recognize and are able to articulate for yourself how your testimony ties to your life purpose and passion. What God does in our life is one of the greatest clues of how God wants to use our lives. Your testimony is not only things God has done for you; it is things God shaped in you (even before you were in your mother’s womb) that were designed to connect to the experiences you’d have in your life. (Ephesians 2:10)
A. What is your purpose/passion? It is how you are destined to fulfill your highest and best contribution to the cause of Christ on earth. It is the theme of the God story of your life.
“There are two great days in a person’s life, the day they are born and the day they discover why.”
Your purpose is forever linked with passion. One of the key ways you know your purpose is because when you begin to fulfill it or even talk about it you become more alive. Your energy levels rise. It is the zone you get in where you lose track of time. It is so crucial to realize the difference between what you ought to do and discovering what you were made to do.
Your passion and purpose are “The hot coal under a stack of wet blankets in your life.”
B. Discovering passion and purpose comes from recognizing God at work in experiences and realizing God’s work through revelations and insights He gives you. Part of your life message is not only what He’s brought you through but words and insights that became “rhema” revelations, the secrets of the Lord to you that are pearls inside the pearls that you carry with you, along with the stories of what happened to you.
C. Ways to discern passion and purpose so that you can connect them with your life message.
1. Reflect and write down a list of God given dreams, visions, whispers, Scripture highlights, experiences that most impacted you. Socrates said, “know yourself.” From a Christian point of view, it means know what God put in your treasure chest to bless others.
2. Observe ways God has broken or moved your heart towards others. Ask “What makes you cry, what makes you sing, what makes you dream?”
3. What revelation from God has defined your life in key ways?
4. Reflect on these strategic questions
What were the greatest giants you ever faced?
What were the greatest lessons you ever learned?
What are the greatest needs in the world you can identify with?
What are the greatest victories in your life?
What was the bravest thing that God ever helped you do?
What is now your gift of faith-the thing that you know that you know?
How did you get saved?
III. How to write and communicate your life message(s).
A. Identify and articulate an area of major pain that God brought healing and redemption.
Here is a list of questions to answer
1. How did that affect you?
2. What was the inner dialogue about that pain-the lies you believed/assumptions that you made?
3. What was the healing point? What was the occasion where breakthrough began?
4. What was the evidence of that healing?
5. How were you forever changed?
6. What is the message in that experience and encounter? Include what is the new identity in Christ that has brought you into?
What is the “good confession” you are now to make?
"Fight the good fight … to which you were called when you made the good confession…" I Timothy 6:12
7. How does that relate to your purpose? How does that connect with the prophetic purpose and the prophetic word on your life and the gifts that are present in you to be stirred up because of this. You should personally identify the areas where you now have faith to believe for things and bring impartation of faith and gifts by encouragement in other people’s lives.
“My instructions are based on the prophetic words spoken to you earlier. Remember these so that they might help you fight the Lord’s battles well.” I Timothy 1:18
"Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8
B. In speaking this, identify how this directly relates to the lives of people whom God is having you speak to in that situation. Go from your message to directly talking to the people: “Some of you can relate to these things now and are going through these very same kinds of things I’ve talked about.” Then list them. “Here is the word I want you to hear.” It is at this point you take the truth of God’s Word and connect it to the gospel of Jesus. Talk about how your testimony and this message connect with what Jesus did on the cross. Ask them to receive the word and boldly respond in a specific way.
An example of a life message: “I’m a masterpiece.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Text: Story of Leah in Genesis 29… The unloved/rejected sibling
Message: How do you overcome the feeling of being unloved/the rejected child to fulfill God’s destiny for your life?
1. How I relate to Leah?
Pain of rejection that got reinforced by feelings, perceptions
Lies of being unwanted, responding in anger, hidden rage, and trying to prove myself and win approval, always feeling second best (broken image-marred by Satan’s lies)
Issues it caused even into marriage
2. Point of breakthrough/God’s whisper
And the discovery of what God said about how He saw me.
At that point, like Leah in Genesis 29:35, I was free to just praise the Lord- Judah was born.
Who I saw, what I was, what that empowered me to do
3. The result of my calling to “born losers”, being a spiritual father to people who felt rejected.
4. This relates to some of you. Some of you have had the very same kind of thing happen to you and worse. You’ve heard and felt this? You know what it is to never feel good enough.
5. There is Someone who sees you differently. Jesus chose to come, the Bible says there was nothing desirable about his appearance… he bore the image of pain and disgrace, because He loved you, so you could be born…. You are His Judah! Today, God wants to speak to you like He spoke to Jesus at His baptism.
6. Accepting Christ allows the adoption papers to be signed and completed. As you do, Holy Spirit will come on you. You will praise the Lord because you will know in your heart that you are His Beloved-Special treasure. God will redeem your heart so you can help the Leah’s of the world. I know that when I pray for you the Spirit of adoption will fall upon you, so come forward now!