Will our witness show God?
Our entire life is a witness — that includes our words and our actions. We don’t need training in witnessing. It is just the opposite: we cannot hide what we are.
Our problem is that our witness does not always show forth that God is real to us. In fact, sometimes the witness we leave with people is that God is not our fundamental source of hope — something else is. This is not surprising, since we are saints and sinners at the same time. Sometimes our new nature shows itself, but too many times it is actually our old nature that leaves an impression on people. Therefore growth in witnessing comes not so much from learning techniques, but from squelching our old nature.
Our real witness often shows itself when we are under pressure. While we may use church-language in times when things are going well, it is in times of pressure that we discover what we are really relying upon in life. When reliance in God shows itself under pressure, that is a powerful witness. But sometimes our actions under pressure leave the witness that in fact we have been trusting money or status for the security that actually can only come from God. This misplaced trust may exhibit itself in rage, or vengeance, or lying. When we come to our senses, we realize we may have compromised any chance to witness Christ to the person who has seen our old nature at work.
All is not lost! First, when our old nature rears its ugly head, we have a new insight into ourselves. That nature was lurking inside, but we didn’t realize it until pressures arose. As soon as we catch it in the act, we cut it off. This is done by repenting. “God, I have no excuse for what I did. It was wrong. Please forgive me. Please change me.”
But what about the person who saw our reactions? This is actually an opportunity to show what Christianity really is. “I know that I should not have acted that way. There is no excuse for it. I have asked God to forgive me and to change me.” This is the kind of Christianity that people need to know about. Christianity does not mean that we are better than others. Christianity means that we have someplace to go with our failures. This is the kind of Christianity that everyone qualifies for.