The Joy of Witness
We're approaching the end of our first Greenhouse Cohort, a group designed to invest in leadership development for those who want to serve God's kingdom more intentionally. This week we talked about the discipline of witness through testimony. We don't often think of witness, or evangelism, as a spiritual discipline, but remembering and retelling the good news of Christ to others actually does just as much good for our spiritual life and development as it does for others!
What is Witness?
Whether you realize it or not, if your faith in Christ is at all public knowledge then you are a witness for Christ. People will associate you and your behaviors with the name of Jesus. In this way, witness can be somewhat conceived of as a passive thing. But real, healthy and vibrant Christian witness comes from a life lived intentionally trying to bring glory to God and God's kingdom. In fact, the word we translate as "testimony" or "witness" in the NT is marturia, the same word from which we get the idea of martyrdom. Martyrs aren't glorified because of their death alone, but because of how their sacrifice amplifies the message of their witness. Marturia - witness - is a life lived and a life spent testifying to the good news of Jesus.
So that's all well a good. But, you may ask, do I really need to SAY things to people? Why should I have to do anything beyond trying to live a decent, godly life? Well, firstly, Jesus specifically commands us to tell others about the good news of life with God (Mark 16:15) - so that's a part of living that decent, godly life!
But the real selling point for me is that intentionally witnessing to others is one of the most joyful acts in your Christian life! There is no greater joy than sharing your heart with someone else and seeing them encounter Jesus in a new way because of your story. The problem is that we often make sharing our faith with others all about convincing the world of what we believe in debates about religion. Healthy witness is about shining a light upon the hope and love that has captured our hearts so that those who are hurting can find it as well.
So what's your story? Where does your story intersect with God's larger story of redemption in the world? How have you been changed because of that? Go and tell it!
"I've Been to the Mountaintop"
50 years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr delivered his final speech - a rousing call for justice and an end to segregation, even as he acknowledged that may not live to see it. His words held even more profound weight when he was assassinated just one day later.
In remembrance of Martin Luther King's legacy and pursuit of justice through nonviolent action, let us follow in his footsteps, fighting for injustices we see around us, standing up for our peers, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Let us not forget the ways we can be God's light to our brothers and sisters despite the darkness that may seem to be closing in around them.
Updates and devotional thoughts for and from our faith family.