I’m not sure any other phrase in the Christian church can send people running faster. Our relationship with God is personal. Religion is politicized. We don’t want to offend anyone. We want to respect their beliefs. We don’t want to be the card carrying Jesus Freak preaching in the robe on the corner. Words like testimony and witness scare some of us. Others of us shake our heads in agreement and start to hum an Amen at the sound of the words. We are ready to proclaim the good news for all to hear. You can recite scripture, the top ten sins and exactly what others are doing wrong in the eyes of Jesus at a moment’s notice. You’ve got your baptism story and the transformation that followed in to a nice, neat three minute speech so you can win souls for Him.
Honestly, I am not sure either of those outlooks connect lives to Christ. I think connecting lives to Christ requires our lives to be our witness and our attitude to be our worship. It takes vulnerability. For most of us, that’s not easy but if we are to show how the love of Jesus has changed or impacts our lives, we must share our lives with others. For someone to see the power of God in my marriage, they must know a little bit about my marriage. For someone to understand the impact the mercy and grace of Jesus had on someone’s overcoming addiction, they must first learn they were an addict. To see the healing power of Christ one must first see the sickness. It is impossible to share the heart of who God is if we refuse to show our heart to others. Yes, our messy, imperfect, sometimes sinful heart. Our need for a Savior is directly related to our desire for one. If I don’t think I need a Savior, then what role does Jesus play in my life? I have to be willing to share why I need Jesus. People will relate to my why. Not just the unbeliever but to encourage the believer as well. My failure, my doubt, my insecurity, the burdens of my past, my poor choices, my predicament, struggle, my health, my crisis, my sin. When we can share our why, people start to think about their own. We must authentically, imperfectly, be ourselves.
Romans 1:12 – That is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
1Corinthians 2:1-6 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. …
In sharing our lives with others we must be careful not to be boastful or prideful but to point to Christ through the fruits of His presence in our lives. The good works we do, the faithfulness and patience we have, the gentleness and love we share…the peace and joy in our hearts and the self control in our lives…We must share our story not for our own edification but to the glory of God. Sharing our story is how we share Jesus. Sharing our lives and living out the Gospel in our daily lives is the most effective way to change hearts for Christ.
John 15:8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Matthew 5:15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
1 Peter 3:15 – But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
Just as important as the why is the heart of why we share. You see, it isn’t our responsibility to convince others of who Jesus is. He can do that. It isn’t our job to save people from the fires of hell. The Holy Spirit will work in the heart of that individual. God instructed us to show them the love of Christ. Our goal in sharing our testimony should be to share the love of Jesus with others, to tell them the Gospel story of how it is available to us all and to do so because we are so overwhelmed with His love and goodness for us that we want everyone to know the treasure we have found. Not to be right. Not to be above. To love. Christian witness absent of love is no witness at all.
Colossians 4:5-6 – Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone
John1:6-8 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God
The impetus has to be on the love of Jesus. Not the convincing, the persuading, the saving….when we share the love of Jesus with others well….the Holy Spirit does the work. He’s the one with the power. We don’t save people. God does. We are just here to show them who He is.
He is the guy that loved His neighbors. He is the guy that sat with the outcast. He is the guy that took the nails for us. The guy that hung on a cross for people that wouldn’t even acknowledge who He was. He was the guy that offered grace and mercy and understanding. He is the guy that knew his buddies would betray him, the guy that knew we would fail again and again and he is the guy that chose to love us anyway. The guy that gave us another chance, another new day. He is the guy that Peter could confess to and that helped the leper and the lame. He is that guy. He is the guy that cried out in the garden for there to be another way but embraced his own suffering for others to have the love of Christ. We have to strive to be that. The guy that looks different than culture. The guy that didn’t argue His rightness but bathed in His Truth. The guy that loves with abandon. The guy that shared His life with us and welcomed us in to His family. The guy that laid down His life for you and me. That is the Jesus we need to be. That is how others will come to know Him. Can I get a witness?