The Lord calls us, His people, to be His witnesses, but how do we do that? The first thing that strikes me about a witness is that it has to be someone who has seen and experienced whatever it is they are talking about. In a court of law, a witness would not be credible if he or she was merely speaking from hearsay or secondhand information. In the same way, we can only be witnesses for the Lord if we have experienced Him firsthand. Our relationship with Him needs to be a daily reality if our witness is to have the greatest impact and remain fresh.
Secondly, for our witness to be effective, we need to know that we cannot do anything in our own strength. Jesus told the first disciples: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses …” (Acts 1:8). It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to witness, and without His power nothing that we say or do will have impact for the Kingdom. We need to be continually filled with the Spirit and know our reliance on Him. Jesus says, “Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). It is not just our words that will bear witness to the reality of God. Often what has the greatest influence on others is the power of God at work in a person’s life, producing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
Thirdly, I have been thinking about another aspect of being a witness, and I am not so keen on this thought! The Greek word martus means both witness and martyr, which implies that it is as we lay down our lives for the Lord that our witness will be most effective and bring most glory to Him. The early church grew as persecution spread and many of the early believers became martyrs for their faith. In some parts of the world today martyrdom is a real possibility for those who make a stand for Jesus Christ. Whether or not we are called to actual martyrdom, Jesus says in Luke 9:23: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” The most effective witnesses will always be those who lay down self and allow Jesus to be Lord in their lives, living in them by the power of His Spirit.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I submit every area of my life to You today. I ask You to fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit to enable me to be a witness to You, not just by what I say but by the way I live my life. Please change me more into Your likeness so that others will be drawn to You. Amen.
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