What makes me an effective witness?
This is probably the most frequently asked questions by many Christians in the course of sharing their faith to an unbelieving friend, family member, or co-worker.
When we say “effective”, we mean one’s ability and resourcefulness to lead somebody to make that ultimate decision to surrender his life to God and become His disciple. However, we, constantly alone can’t do the job of bringing somebody into His kingdom. Apostle Paul, one of God’s effective witnesses, declares,
“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” -2 Corinthians 3:5
Apostle Paul had an abiding consciousness that it is only through God’s enablement he can win the Gentile world for his Master. The same should be true for us. We must also passes the same absolute dependence upon God’s Spirit if we so desire to empower our testimony to the world about our Lord and Savior Jesus.
Seven traits to possess in order to become an effective witness for Christ.
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” -2 Corinthians 2:2
In one of their albums, a well-known Christian rap group opens up one of their songs with haunting dialogue: “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge with their lips, walk out the door and deny it by their lifestyle. That is what the unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” True biblical witnessing takes place even before we say a word about Jesus Christ. The true heart of witnessing is not merely saying the right word about Christ, but living Christ-like before the eyes of an unbelieving world. As one Christian author would succinctly put it, “Preach the gospel; if possible, use words.”
“Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.”
2 Corinthians 4:2
From his intentions to his ways of sharing the gospel, an effective witness is honest and faithful. Our unbelieving friend can tell if we are being honest or unfaithful in our efforts of bringing him to Christ. Reinforcing our words with honesty will create a tremendous impact in other’s decision to follow Christ.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” -1 Peter 3:15
Although our availability accounts greater than our ability, we must never, however, belittle the fact that we equally need basic biblical knowledge in order to give edge to our reasoning.
“Brothers, my heart desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” -Romans 10:1
A compassionate Christian seeks every opportunity whereby he can share the gospel of Jesus Christ to his unsaved friends or acquaintances. His compassion is what drives to him to overcome his fear in sharing his faith to others. An effective witness is compassionate. He sees the hopelessness of his unsaved loved ones if they will disregard the message of God’s salvation.
“Now what you worship of something unknown I am going to proclaim to you” -Acts 17:23
What was impressive about Apostle Paul’s presentation of the Gospel was his ability to usa a potential hindrance for his advantage. He didn’t attack head-on the idol worship prevalent on that day. But he used it to show the ignorance of the Athenian and proved the existence of the living God. Pray to God to give you wisdom in presenting His message to others. In that way, your witness will become even more effective.
“To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” -1 Corinthians 9:12
Avoid a “holier-than-thou” attitude or “known-it-all” stance in confronting others with the gospel. Rather, try to find the common ground with your prospects. Even during your contacts initial disinterest to the gospel, continue to understand what they’re going through. Remember, you were that way too, prior to your acceptance to the gospel.
One must remember that personal evangelism does not only involve speaking forth the word of God, but most importantly, listening to what others might say as well. And don’t only listen to what is saying. Listen deeply. Listen to his cry for help. Be attentive to his fear and doubts. Listen. Look into his eyes. Weigh his words and thoughts. Respond to them. In doing so, he will get later on to listen to you.
Equally noteworthy is what we must share to our unbelieving friends. Often times, we are unwilling to testify to others because we think that we don’t have anything to say. But on the contrary, we do have the message. Interestingly enough, that message is none other than your personal experience of salvation from your former sinful past.
The world that we are now living is in mired in deep spiritual crisis. Countless of people are becoming disillusioned of the message that is supposed to bring them light. Not because the message has become ineffective or obsolete. But the reason for today’s unbelief of people is the failure of the messenger to effectively share the truth that they posses. Now is the time to hasten our efforts of bringing souls into God’s saving grace by becoming witnesses for Christ.