Our Calling to Witness

Every Christian, young or old, must be a witness for his (her) Lord. Isaiah 43:10, 12 speaks of that Christian witness: “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shown, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.” How we witness is a key element in our role to witness. We are God’s witnesses chosen by him as servants of him.

Witnessing is defined by Prof. Hanko in his Standard Bearer article on Christian witnessing in the May 15, 1973 issue: “Witnessing is the calling of the church of Christ to testify through her members of the riches of the Word of God to those with whom these members come into contact, believing that God will use that Word according to his own purpose in Christ.” We must think of ourselves as those who carry a candle as expressed in Matthew 5:14-16. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” Our “candles” must remain lit and be carried by us wherever we go and must shine in whatever we do. That light shines when we walk and talk as members of Christ’s church in the world. But, often our candles are hidden or at best shine very dimly. As we go about our witnessing we are to be delighted in what we represent for we represent Christ, the one who chose us before the foundations of the world. This should not be a burden for us to bear, but a joy to delight in. We are called to let our light shine and glorify God through this.

We receive the content of our witness on the Lord’s Day as we sit under the preaching of God’s Word and hear his commandments read. We carry that Word with us throughout the week as we work, sit in our homes, attend school, etc. Obeying God’s commandments is a witness to those around us of the love of Jesus Christ in our hearts. That is conveyed in our conversation, what we do, and where we go. Our dress is a witness of what we believe and confess. Does tight, skimpy fitting clothing reflect that we are his? Do baggy pants hung low on one’s hips reveal that Christ is our Lord? Does cursing and swearing tell others that we have the love of Christ in our hearts? What about the off-color joke we told or laughed at?

Our calling to witness is not easy, but we are called to witness nevertheless. To witness for the truth and how we do that begins in the home and with our friends. We cannot be a good witness when we are with friends who do not share that common goal to be a witness. The fear of being looked down on may affect our witness but that should not hinder us. Our lights can glow brightly in church or as we sing in church or in a school choir. They glow when we find it easy or non-confrontational to witness. But, when we are out with friends, at work, or face trials and temptations our lights can quickly go out. In order to witness we must know the God of whom we testify and what his Word teaches about our witness. We must be able to give an answer to someone when he asks about the hope that is within us. We must not be caught in places and in circumstances where it is impossible to give a good witness for your Lord. Wild parties, theaters, dances, are some examples where it is impossible for a Christian to let his light shine before men.

Witnessing is used by God to bring his people to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We must make it our desire to let your light shine every moment, and not only take advantage of the obvious situations to witness. Also we can plan ways to talk of our faith to others even when they do not ask us about it. We must not come across as better than others, but humbly ask God to use us in his service.