Can I get a Witness?

The next step in living a Life on Mission is sharing. This step may be the most intimidating step of a life on mission. This step requires us to evangelize, to tell people the good news about Jesus. On one level, I’m not sure why this step is so hard. Telling people about Jesus should be the most wonderful thing ever. When you find something amazing, you tell people about it. Whether it really is amazing or just a funny cat video on YouTube, you tell people about it, so why not Jesus.

Don't evangelize like this...  Photo Credit: Sherlock77 (James) via Compfight cc
Don’t evangelize like this…
Photo Credit: Sherlock77 (James) via Compfight cc

On the other hand, I get it. It’s scary and intimidating. Whether we’re afraid of what people might think or we don’t know what to say, many people find it hard to share the Gospel. We have so many ideas of what sharing the gospel looks like that it’s hard to know whether we should stand on a street corner or start up a debate club.

What I’m learning, though, is that it’s not all about what we arguments know or what clever tactics we use, it’s about being a witness. Acts 1:8 tells us that we are to be “witnesses” of Jesus. We are to share what we have seen. The primary job of a witness is to share what they have seen, not what they have studied. This is exactly what the apostles did. John wrote in his first letter,

We want to tell you about the One who was from the beginning. We have seen Him with our own eyes, heard Him with our own ears, and touched Him with our own hands. This One is the manifestation of the life-giving Voice, and He showed us real life, eternal life. We have seen it all, and we can’t keep what we witnessed quiet—we have to share it with you. We are inviting you to experience eternal life through the One who was with the Father and came down to us.1

Here John is telling his readers that he’s only telling them what he’s seen, heard, and experienced. It’s what witnesses do. I don’t know about you, but this is freeing. Instead of having to memorize all the great reasons why someone should believe, you’re being asked to know your story and share your story. There’s a place for what is now known as apologetics, but that’s not for all us. What we all must do is answer why we believe in Jesus.

Tim Harlow writes this in Life on Mission, “What you need to share is your story. The great thing about sharing your story is that no one can argue with your story. You don’t need a degree in theology—you are already an expert! No one knows it better than you. And you don’t have to embellish or hide the mistakes and fears, because you are not the hero of the story. See where I’m going with this?”2

What is your story and how does Jesus fit in? I used to think that I didn’t have much of a story because I grew up in a Christian home and didn’t have an crazy life changing experiences. I realized, though, that my story is the story of how Jesus has worked in my family not just in my life. I am who I am because of God answering the prayers of grandparents and parents. Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”3 My faith lived first in my grandparents and my parents. That’s my story.

I challenge you this week to answer these two questions:

  • What is your story?
  • How is your story different because of Jesus?

1The Voice Bible: Step into the Story of Scripture (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012), 1 John 1:1-2.

2Harlow, Tim. Life on Mission: God’s People Finding God’s Heart for the World (Pastors.com, 2014), 123.

3The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 2 Ti 1:5.

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