God’s word speaks of the power of personal testimony. When a soldier of Jesus Christ tells how the blood of the Lamb redeemed them, and exalt God and His way instead of themselves, the truth preached is a spiritual sword that overcomes the defenses of the devil, and advances the kingdom of God (Revelation 12:10-11). Many a time a personal testimony has been a key event in getting some sinner’s attention and moving them to repentance and belief in Christ. And many a time a personal testimony has enlightened a believer to understand and experience the Savior’s work in greater depth and intimacy.
And yet God also warns us that comparing ourselves with others is not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12). A personal testimony is picture of God’s unique handiwork—a glimpse of a relationship joining two in one. If the speaker or the hearer exalts the human side of the story above God’s side, Satan will be sure to take advantage of the situation and try to turn it to his destructive ends. So may God help us to avoid becoming confused about this all-important experience of His salvation, but to clearly see what is the unique experience of the individual human soul on the one hand, and what is the abiding and changeless character of the Divine on the other.
Spurgeon’s story is vivid and dramatic, for God was dealing with a person He had created to be vivid and dramatic. Many of us may find we are not that way. But just as certainly God has fashioned our unique personality as it pleased Him. And just as certainly, He has designed each and every one of us to embrace the unchanging Christ as our All in all. Peter, Nathaniel, and Paul each had a unique testimony of when they were born from above, and we can be quite sure that people as just as unique today. Yet hearing another’s story can often enlarge our view of the Savior—and perhaps be the very thing we need right now.
One other word of caution: as Spurgeon tells his experience, he interprets it from the belief that God decides who will be saved, controlling every aspect of a person’s coming to Christ. This perspective of salvation known as “unconditional election” and “irresistible grace” is too involved to discuss in detail here, yet we believe those concepts to be a misunderstanding of God’s revealed character, and therefore a view that ignores real dangers. We agree that He sovereignly shapes all our circumstances to His purposes and we cannot change anything beyond what He allows, yet we also have confidence that He desires every person to be reconciled (1 Timothy 2:4), and the reason many haven’t is because He allows us the freedom to resist His love and reject Him (John 12:48).
However, that difference is a side issue here, and we believe that the main focus of Spurgeon’s testimony will be helpful to many readers. We have only edited it to the extent we feel would benefit today’s reader, while trying to avoid misrepresenting what Spurgeon intended to say. It is true that those who teach bear greater responsibility, but God is great enough to use all those that love Him for work in His kingdom, even when we may at times misrepresent Him by not understanding Him as clearly as He wants us to know Him. That is no excuse for error, but simply a further encouragement to be ever seeking more of “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.” (Ephesians 1:17)