It’s the guy with the bullhorn standing on the street corner, the literature-bearing Saturday morning door-knocker, and harpy Facebook writer that gets the attention. But I’m not convinced this is the witness Jesus had in mind for his church.
I could be wrong.
But this I know: we are meant to tell others about the hope we have in Jesus.
I think we complicate our witness when we think we have to be Biblical scholars or good public speakers in order to make a ‘convincing argument’. We clutter the message when we try to cram in too much information, too many $2 words, and too much noise. We contaminate the message with our own ideas and our judgment of what we think is wrong with people.
The Apostle Peter said it simply: “Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope you have” [1 Peter 3:15]. I’m not sure who wrote it, but I recently read that it’s not about getting the word out; it’s about letting the word out. Simply put, we need to let what God has done in us out.
Here’s a simple formula in mind for a telling witness: Our story + His story = A telling witness.
Let’s start with our story. This is about where we’ve been, who we were, and what life was like when we lived life on our own terms. These are our stories, and we all have them. Some of our stories are hard to believe, and some seem boring by comparison — but all are important. We don’t tell these stories to brag about past or over-sensationalize our life story as though it were a script for a Hollywood blockbuster.
This is about a real person who has been met by a real God.
Our story isn’t the good news, but it is important. How can we know the light without having experienced the darkness? How can we know peace without the preceding chaos? How can we know resurrection without having walked in death?
God can — and does — use the sins, crises, and circumstances of our past for our good when redeemed. We trust when buying a puzzle that the factory put all the right pieces of the puzzle into the box when we buy it. So why can’t we trust that God can put all the pieces of our life together for a purpose? In Christ, we’re not bound by our past forever. He redeems.
And that brings us to the good news part of this simple formula…
His story. Despite a world in rebellion (and my total compliance with it), the Father has been relentless in his efforts to restore us to the life in Christ we were always meant to have. Through Jesus, the ‘old’ is buried and the ‘new’ is raised to life (now and forever, by the way).
This is who I was. This is who God is. And this is the story I’ve got to tell.
The greater part of the story isn’t how screwed up I am. That should be no surprise to anybody. The greater part of the story is that my story hasn’t dissuaded the Father’s determination to rescue and restore.
So go ahead.
Let the word out.
You’ve got a telling witness.