by Peter Swann
The third part of this “Why We Don’t” blog series may hit close to home. After all, witnessing is an activity we all know we are to all engage in, yet struggle to embrace. It’s time to face that head on.
Scripture is clear about the call to witness. When we are saved, we are rescued from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of light. As we come in, we enter as redeemed soldiers… charged to now bring glory to our King by advancing His Kingdom. In response, we engage the darkness for His name’s sake.
There are many ways to advance His Kingdom, but none is more precious than when God works through us to see someone else enter His Kingdom. It is a work of God, but He calls us to faithfully and boldly proclaim His gospel message in the process. We get the privilege of joining Him in His redemptive work.
Why, then, in such a glorious enterprise, do we struggle so much with sharing our faith?
There are plenty of reasons why witnessing is a challenge, but here are four key ones:
1. We are caught in our culture.
America in 2018 is dominated by inclusiveness. It is all about giving people choices and not making them conform. On top of that, Christians have been labeled in harmful ways publicly. That makes both the act of witnessing and the faith of the one doing the witnessing fly directly in the face of cultural pressures.
2. We worry about what people think.
We wish we didn’t, but we worry about what people think. It’s not just a junior high issue. People-pleasing is an epidemic in our day. If we have to admit it, we spend more time worrying about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
3. We lack urgency.
The reality of hell is accepted theology but neglected practically. It’s so painful to comprehend that we’d rather ignore it. We honestly feel neither a deep enough love for the lost nor a great enough concern for their eternity.
4. We lack joy.
Having never grasped the sheer delight of proclaiming the greatest story of all time, we’ve never embraced the joy of witnessing. The privilege and delight of being potentially used in eternity-shifting ways has never fully dawned on us. We haven’t absorbed just how radically amazing it is of God to want to work through us.
A personal confession is that all four of these areas apply to me… strongly. For that reason, I’ve been greatly encouraged by the apostle Paul and how often he prayed for boldness. It was as if he got it theologically but had room to grow practically. At the same time, his frequent petition for boldness reflected a heart hungry to proclaim the gospel. I want to attack it in the same way.
In truth, there’s another reason I could list above, and that’s that we feel like we don’t know what to say. But that’s not a big enough reason. After all, God’s just asking you to do what the apostles did in Acts 3… simply to tell of what you’ve seen and heard. Nothing is more powerful than your story of transformation, and you’ve got that already. Add to it a simple proclamation of the gospel and you’re ready to go… which simply takes us back to boldness, and a need to attack this.
So, let’s do it. Let’s fast and pray, let’s reflect on our glorious calling, and let’s witness with joyful urgency for the sake of those around us and the glory of our King.