Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul. (Psalm 66:16—NKJV)

Testimony time in our church youth group was always predictable. The youth leader would announce that there would be a short time for testimonies. Some of us would furtively search our recollections of the previous week for some story worthy of pre-teen interest, only to draw a blank. Others of us would have a story to share. Usually there were one or two girls who had a verse that they just had to read. There were the usual thanksgivings for salvation. But best of all, every now and then, there was an account of answered prayer and a witness given for Christ. Those testimonies which expressed an exploration of the majestic power of God were always the highlights.

While I recognize that certain personalities lend themselves more handily to sharing a delight from God in public, there is an obligation which devolves to every believer born of God to sound forth His praises. Who can forget the Lord’s words in response to the Pharisees, and their request that He silence His followers from declaring His Messiahship? Luke 19:40 records, “I tell you that if these would keep silence the stones would immediately cry out.” While the natural world is inarticulate in giving us the Name of the Creator, God gave us a tongue for the purpose of declaring His glory with precision.

There are certain principles found in our verse which aid all genuine believers in the responsibility of speaking forth “high praise” of our God (Psalm 149:6). A worthy testimony must be fresh. A quick read through the whole chapter reveals this first principle underlying our verse. It is evident that the author of the chapter knows the Scriptures (verses 1–4), knows the works God has done (5–7), knows the methods God is likely to employ (8–12), and knows the communion of partnership with God through it all (13–15). His words tell you that his praise to God is very real.

A worthy testimony must be of God’s mercy. The verses which follow our verse speak of God’s faithfulness and His goodness. Answered prayer, holy reverence, and dependence upon God’s faithful care are the themes of the author’s praise. You are right to shrink from telling a story about us, but do not hesitate to tell the story of God’s grace toward you.

A worthy testimony must be aware of the audience. Technically, God is our audience and men are privileged to hear our words of praise. The psalmist refers to those who “fear” God (sense their own weakness, apprehend eternal reality, and so reverence God). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). It is always fitting to seek opportunity to give testimony to everyone who will hear, while remembering our Lord’s words of caution not to “give what is holy to the dogs nor cast your pearls before swine.” This is why the call from the psalmist goes out to the ones who value reverence to God for the choicest of our praises.

A worthy testimony need not be “monumental” in scale. In fact, it may appear mundane. Our author simply says he will tell what God has done.

A worthy testimony must be about God’s work on your behalf. It is a recounting of something which has the imprint of God’s hand on it. A dead give-away that your Sovereign God has been at work in your behalf is that you will easily find a verse in the Bible which declares that God has an interest in doing just that sort of thing for His own children.

Have you found you speak more freely and more often about the things of this world while speaking so little of what God has done for your soul? Repent of the carnality of your speech and pursue freshness in your walk with your God. Trust and obey.