Wednesday, September 07, 2011

An Effective Witness

I'm taking this week off to celebrate with my husband. I hope you enjoy this from the archives, originally posted January 23, 2007.

"You act more like a Christian by your influence on the lost, than the saved people you impress"
~ Dr. Alvin Reid ~

Influencing the lost. Impressing the saved. Both sound like a lot of pressure. If I consciously have either in the forefront of my mind, I already feel defeated. For me, the best way to act like a Christian is to be united with Christ. I will have no effect whatsoever on anyone without His divine touch in me, without His Spirit guiding me.

Okay, now I feel better. We've established the ground rules. We are all ineffective without Him.

Now I know this quote is a statement about how we Christians spend more time trying to look good to each other than we do loving others, but it naturally pulls my thinking to evangelism. I'm not crazy about the word. It sounds so ominous and scary and CHURCHY. Talking about evangelism makes me uncomfortable. I'm afraid my witnessing (another scary, ominous, churchy word) will come off like a telemarketer and I'll immediately turn people off. I imagine people rolling their eyes and looking for any excuse to get away.

So I've started thinking of it differently. I figure God made me who I am for a reason. Instead of "witnessing to the lost," I should be myself with everybody. The sharing of my faith should be an outpouring of His Spirit within me, a natural flow of His work in my life, not a dreaded chore. I've decided the best way to approach it is to assume whoever I talk with will understand exactly where I'm coming from. My words concerning God's influence and power in my life should not change depending on who I am with, should they? Truth is truth, right? For instance, let's say I'm standing in line at the grocery store, chit-chatting with the person in front of me about the weather. I like snow because the softness and stillness is soothing to me. It's God sending down a blanket with the message, "Hey, slow down. Sit with Me for a bit." Whether the person in front of me is a Christian or not, I should tell them how I really feel, unashamedly. If they are a Christian, they will appreciate it. If they aren't, they will walk off wondering what I meant, which one day may lead to a conversation about faith. It's win-win. They may think I'm a kook, but I will have made an impression, right? Letting people see our honest thoughts and feelings is honoring, whether they "get it" or not. It says, "I trust you." We love (and maybe even influence people) by showing them how Jesus is part of our everyday. It doesn't matter if they agree or understand. That's the Holy Spirit's job. We are to show them Christ.

It's all matter of me being me without fearing what others will think (This will be a life long lesson--WOW, do I have a hard time with this!). I have to remember I am His creation, whether anyone else thinks I am wonderfully made or not. You are too, my friend. Don't be ashamed of who you are. You are no fluke. Your being, your personality, everything about you has been intentionally designed. You are needed. Love others by being who God created you to be. Don't hold back.

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart."

2 Corinthians 3:17-4:1

Reflect God's glory to all, Christians and non-Christians alike, by being you.

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