When we think of witnessing most people think of an ordered way of approaching the subject, like having key verses or simply asking someone about their relationship with God. Most of witnessing though, which is not as much focused upon in training to witness, comes not with words but in other ways (see Acts 1:8- power implies more than words).
One of these ways is the amount love our life radiates. Jesus spoke of this, both in the gospels and the epistles as a common tap root of the tree of witnessing and encouraging others. When Jesus had his final opportunity to train his disciples in witnessing, at the last supper, He showed the fullness of his love ( John 13:2-5) by taking time to wash each disciples feet.
In a related manner, when you talk with a new believer a frequent theme they cite in the process of becoming a believer is the love seen, and experienced which was a deciding factor in the conversion process. They see a difference in their lives. A radiating out the love of God (Exodus 15:13) which overflows to all around like a lighthouse generously radiating light in all directions for all to see. Ones that do not have this radiating love tend to be ineffective at witnessing, even if they possess eloquent words, or insightful arguments.
We also can be an effective witness through the gifts (I Corinthians 7:7), abilities, and talents given to us by God. It is amazing how many believers who have walked in the faith, sometimes for decades, do not have an idea of what part of the body of Christ they are. Some don’t see how the fruits of the Spirit have been an ongoing part of life, and others can’t think of how to live the words of the Bible through their daily lives. If we are not different from the world about us, then we have become part of that world. Therefore, we become as effective as deaf mutes striving to communicate to those nearby.
Witnessing also takes a servant hood (see fellowship foundation in Galatians 5:13-14) manner, knowing the needs of others. This is not to be a know it all, which haughtily believes we know the details of other’s lives. It is to serve in a way in which love leads to awareness, allowing us to be effective stewards to other’s. As we do this we are investing what God has given us into the relationships that He put in our lives each and every day. This provides a powerful witness.
Witnessing should be sharing something we are excited about. Something that is current, and alive, and growing, to the point we can’t not share it (Acts 1:8). We also know that to share it is beneficial to those who receive it. If you have great news do you not expect others will enjoy hearing it? If your witness was to be based on the most recent prayer answer or insight into Scripture, or way God has touched your life, how would your witness change from what it is now? Many people witness though with stories that are years and years old, not giving their present faith experience to those who know the intricate details of their everyday life.
To be a witness is not a one time, on the witness stand, experience, but it is given over a period of time (Luke 8:15), through a consistent life. Think of people coming to Christ, it often is a dramatic moment but one made up of possibly thousands of quiet moments that build up to and lead to an epiphany.
Witnessing is strong when we do not shape our words, but have shaped out lives so others cannot deny what we are saying through our deeds, or unfailing energy, our servant life, and our enthusiasm in discussing God’s love. These we can share through our experiences with those around us. Let your life define the words you speak (Revelation 12:10-11).
How do you witness without words?
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Greg has been in ministry work since graduating from Gordon College, a Christian college, in 1978. He is a Christian counselor who primarily works with children and adolescents, but also sometimes long term adults. He has a hunger for prayer, and is dedicated to his family. He currently works two jobs, full time with boys in a group home, Cedar Ridge, and part time in a community counseling office, Christian Counseling Associates.