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Do Witnessing or Be Witnesses?

quest-9-1Many of us confuse doing witnessing for Christ with being witnesses for Christ. Let me explain what I mean by sharing a humorous story from my past. When my younger brother and I were in junior high our church put on evangelism training. My parents asked us to attend this training with them.

The pinnacle of the this evangelism training experience was to go out into a neighborhood in pairs, knock on doors and share a gospel tract with whomever came to the door. My younger brother and I were paired up and dropped off in a neighborhood on a beautiful fall Minnesota Saturday.

We looked at each other and were scared to death! In fact, our fear drove us to pray. Now that may sound very spiritual except for the detail that we prayed that no one would be home! Even as we reluctantly approached a house, we would ring the doorbell just once or knock very softly. If no one responded immediately, we moved away quickly and took our time getting to the next house.

This experience confused me about what it means to be a witness for Jesus Christ. I won’t say that there aren’t times when a more aggressive approach to evangelism is necessary and effective. But in terms of our daily walk with the Lord we want to focus on being his witnesses rather than doing witnessing.

In Acts 1:8 Jesus told his followers, “You will be my witnesses.” And from the Scriptures we see that our whole lifestyle should represent Christ well, so that others see Jesus in us. I love what Peter urges in 1 Peter 2:12, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

Being a witness for Christ also means that we open our mouths for him. When I was in the Army I was still in training when I was assigned to a company of soldiers in New England. The company sergeant was the most foul-mouthed, lewd individual I had yet encountered in the military—even more so than my basic training drill sergeants! Day after day all of us were subjected to his abuse and coarse language.

On one of my days off, I was sitting outside the barracks reading a book about the end times when my company sergeant came up to me. He asked me what I was reading, so I began to explain to him what the book was about. I sensed a clear leading from the Holy Spirit to challenge him to get right with God and step into relationship with him. And to my utter amazement, I looked over at this profane young man and saw tears streaming down his face! He surrendered his life to Christ that day and I had the privilege of discipling him over the next few weeks.

©2009 Rob Fischer

1 comment

1 Ray Edwards { 08.26.09 at 3:30 pm }

Wow! That’s a lesson that shows we never know the heart of another.

I recently purchased a few Christian t-shirts. I haven’t worn t-shirts much since I was much younger, and realized I enjoyed the casual feeling of wearing one (not to mention they’re handy in hot weather).

I have never worn Christian t-shirts before – but I felt they might be good conversation starters. The jury’s still out on that, and that’s not the point.

My point is: I notice that when I’m wearing one of these shirts, I find myself being a little more conscious of my behavior, my speech, and my overall demeanor. And that has been very instructive.

Because as a believer, I’m a representative of our Lord ALL THE TIME – not just when I’m wearing a shirt with His name on it.

This has been a sobering experience, because if my behavior needs “cleaning up” when I’m wearing a visible sign that I’m a Christian… does that mean nobody would be able to TELL I’m a Christian if I wasn’t wearing the shirt?

I don’t think it’s that extreme, thank the Lord.

BUT… now I’m inviting the Holy Spirit to work on my heart so that there’s no difference between the times I’m wearing a “sign” and when I’m not.

And that sounds a heck of a lot like BEING a witness and opposed to “witnessing”.

Thanks Rob!