23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. Luke 9:23-24

To save our lives, we must lose them. That’s a mind bender, for sure, but clearly vital to understand. Jesus said it to the disciples after they’d already dropped everything to follow Him from town to town. They sacrificed their careers, homes, and relationships for the man they believed was the Messiah. Life as they knew it had turned upside down, but more would be required of them, and Jesus was doubling down. He knew what lay ahead. He knew He was leaving. And He knew they would become pillars of the early church, in charge of spreading the truth about salvation tot the world, discipling the masses, and claiming Christ in the face of imprisonment, torture, and death. They would lose their lives on earth–figuratively and literally– for the sake of all they would gain in heaven.

And they did it well because their testimonies, their personal stories of what Jesus had said and done, were potent demonstrations of His transformative love and power in their lives. They shared the gospel with an unstoppable, contagious, relentless passion that — to be honest– seems kind of rare these days.

How come?

Well for starters, they weren’t in love with themselves or their own stories. They weren’t branding their Christian narratives for maximum personal benefit, approval, or sympathy… or for clicks or likes. They weren’t assigning themselves the hero role or belaboring their “before Christ” dysfunction with all its juicy, sensationalistic tidbits. When you look at biblical examples, it’s amazing how few words are given tot heir broken pasts– the almost exclusive focus is on Jesus.

Take Mary Magdalene. The fact that she was delivered from seven demons is a crucial aspect of her testimony because it showcases Jesus’ authority and why she responded to Him the way she did. And then that’s it. That’s all the detail we need to know. In other words, her autobiography wouldn’t have been titled The Dark Years with three hundred pages dedicated to describing the monsters within. Fascinating? Sure. But powerful and effective and glorifying to the one who rescued her? Not so much. There’s a reason we meet Mary subsequent to her healing– because that’s where the real story is.

There are a few other things we know about her:

  1. She followed Jesus and financially supported His ministry until His crucifixion, which means she gave everything she had to follow Him
  2. she endured the crucifixion and stayed close to Jesus while He suffered and died; and
  3. as mentioned in “Delivered,” she was the first person He appeared to after He rose from the dead, and she was the one He sent to tell the disciples the universe-altering news. All because the old was gone and dead. Jesus had given her new life.

Which means that even if you’ve been a believer for all of then minutes, those minutes are entirely more relevant than the twenty, forty, or eighty years of darkness prior to. your conversion. Reason being, we’re called to represent Jesus and to die to the lives He saved us from. When we do that, and when He stays the hero of the story, our words and lives become real-time, potent demonstrations of His transformative love and power.


Thank God for how He’s transformed you, repent of any times you’ve represented Jesus poorly, and ask Him to be part of how you tell your story.


  • Do you find it difficult to share your testimony? Why or why not?
  • Be real: Who or what do you words most represent?
  • Moving forward, what can you say that focuses more on the “after Christ” portion of your testimony than “before Christ” portion?