(Discuss) Witnessing

Recently, two of my friends blogged about “witnessing”. Hosanna’s post and Hannah’s post are both challenging in the best sort of way. I hope that they will move you to thought.

I don’t claim to be any sort of an expert on witnessing. But for the benefit of anyone reading this who may not have heard the term used in this context before, witnessing is when a born-again child of God shares with others what Jesus did for them (ie. saving them from their state of total depravity and damnation) and how it is most definitely relevant to whoever they’re sharing with.

Strictly speaking, I don’t know if witnessing is limited to telling a person this Good News directly, or if it includes “being a good witness” by living out the change He has made such that all may see. Perhaps this is something we can discuss below.

This is an open discussion for both Christians and ‘not-a-Christian’s. All are warmly welcomed and encouraged to join in.

If you want some prompts, consider these questions:

Has someone ever witnessed to you? How do you feel about witnessing? Have you ever witnessed to anyone? Should Christians witness? Why or why not?

But the conversation is by no means limited to these questions. In fact, feel free to ask questions of your own and respond to other readers’ comments.


Here’s a chance to get to know me and your fellow readers. Here’s a chance for us to get to know you.


0084-witnessing

Advertisements

24 thoughts on “(Discuss) Witnessing

  1. While it’s true that two of my friends blogged about this recently, witnessing as a topic has been very relevant to me recently. I think of two people in particular with whom I have talked about God in the past two weeks or so. I don’t say that to sound righteous. If anything, it has made me realize on a new level how much I need to depend on God. Naturally, I feel self-conscious, inadequate, and restless. I pray that by my weaknesses, God will draw me closer to Himself.

    I believe it is important for born-again believers to tell others about Jesus. If we truly believe that every person is doomed apart from Him, then what other response is fitting of us?

    Like

  2. I appreciate you bringing the topic of witnessing up! God has really been showing me the importance of witnessing the past couple of months and so having three bloggers post about it is very encouraging! I’ve been reading a book called, “One Thing You Can’t do in Heaven” by Mark Cahill, and he covered the whole topic and idea of sharing your faith. He shared so many struggles, ideas, and practical Wisdom that totally made any excuse possible seem silly. 😀 I’d recommend looking at that book if you haven’t before.

    I’d have to say that I really have never done much witnessing, but over the past few weeks and months, God has been revealing Himself to me and showing me a need for that in our spiritual life. I think it’s something that every follower of Christ should do, although it will most definitely look different in everyone’s life. For some, God might call to give their whole life to that purpose of “Handing out tickets”, and others, maybe being a witness with their life is what God is calling them more to. But most everyone should be sharing their faith by how they live. We are lights in a dark world, and a light in a dark world should never be hidden. If we are truly in love with Jesus, our lives will be a testimony and witness of Him!

    And I’ve actually never had someone witness to me before other than in like a sermon. But I have been thinking about how wonderfully of a gift it would be if people witnessed to us often, because, although we already have the good news, seeing that people are living their lives, seeking to be witnesses to those around them, would be wonderful and encouraging to see.

    Have you ever had someone witness to you?

    Like

    1. Thanks for sharing about how God has been showing you the importance of witnessing, recently! It encourages me that He is putting the same topics on the hearts of other brothers and sisters. I would really like to read the book you recommended!

      Do you think that being an example by how we live is included in witnessing or is it completely different to witnessing as in starting or leading a conversation to talk about Jesus’ sacrifice? If a person already sets an example by their life, do you still think it’s important for them to verbally share the good news?

      I like what you say about lights in a dark word – straight from the Bible. X)

      I agree, I think it would be very encouraging for me (and hopefully for the other person involved, too) if people witnessed to me as an already born-again believer. It would be so encouraging to see people stepping out of their comfort zones to talk to a person whom they know nothing about (namely me) to share the Good News! But no, I haven’t had anyone witness to me before, apart from in sermons as you say. I wonder if I would be willing to do so much for a stranger.

      Like

  3. I agree. It’s always really encouraging to see when God is working in similar ways in the lives of others around us! It’s very encouraging because it shows, again, that He has a purpose in challenging us. He wouldn’t start raising us up in that area if there was no reason. That’s all the more reason to be bold in witnessing; God is present and working. It’s not just a feeling or suspicion but a true reality. 😀

    That’s a very good question! I’ve been thinking about that as well. Recently we’ve been watching a sermon series by David Platt called “Threads” or “Gospel Threads”, and he’s been talking about the importance of weaving Jesus into our every-day life. I would have to say that yes, verbally talking about Christ is so important, and goes right with the fact that our lives reflect Christ. I think that letting our lights shine is equally important. But what would verbally sharing our faith be, if our lives weren’t a testimony of our faith, and why would our lives being a testimony of our faith matter in the slightest bit if we were not in love with God and the very being of our souls overflowing with love and joy for Him? I don’t think it’s a matter of ‘should we verbally communicate the topic of faith with the lost, as we show Christ through our lives?’ but that we “get” to. If we are in love with Jesus, both our lives and our words will be a living testimony in itself of a wonderful, loving saviour who has saved us and adopted us into his family. So, I believe that they both work together. If a lost person is around us and our lives are loving and kind, (the fruits of the spirit, etc.) but we never love that person enough to verbally hand them a ticket to eternal salvation, then that would “be the height of hate” as David Platt puts it. So I hope this makes sense, and I hope I answered the question right… 😀

    What do you think? Does verbally witnessing go right along with our lives reflecting Christ?

    Like

    1. Oh yes! I watched one of the Threads sermons by David Platt, but I haven’t been following the whole series. What has been the biggest takeaway for you? -the one thing that you’re most eager to apply to your life?

      I agree that verbal witnessing goes right along with living a life that reflects Christs. And I agree that they go hand in hand. That said, I don’t claim to be an expert or to have my life straight with regards to witnessing.

      I agree that sharing Christ is a privilege when we’re in love with him. But at the same time, I’m not always on a “spiritual high” so to speak. Sometimes it feels like I’m in a wilderness season; I don’t feel as close to God. At those times, is it okay to avoid witnessing opportunities because I don’t feel like it’s a privilege that I ‘get’ to be a part of?

      I think that witnessing is BOTH a privilege and a responsibility at the same time. But what do you think?

      Like

  4. Your post, and Hannah’s and Hosanna’s, are all so timely for me, and I really appreciate the fact that there are young people out there who are passionate about sharing the gospel – it’s so encouraging! 🙂

    I saw your question in response to Josiah about avoiding witnessing opportunities because of not feeling close to God, and while I don’t have an answer I have experienced the same thing. Late last year and early this year, I was so stoked about witnessing, and when I did it, it was a great experience even if the other person rejected me. It brought me closer to God, and gave me insight into what people are searching for. But then, the zeal kind of faded out as I stopped actively witnessing. A couple of times I tried but it didn’t seem to work. I didn’t feel God close, and people didn’t seem to respond. However, the point to my long-winded story, I learned a couple of things through the experience:

    1) I think sharing our faith helps solidify our relationship with God, and helps us be grounded in what we believe and why. It was when I stopped witnessing I lost the desire to, and my relationship with God lacked fervour.

    2) After the experience of witnessing that didn’t seem to ‘work’ I realised my focus had changed: I was focusing on the task rather than the people. I wanted to get books out, cover ground, get the most done in the least amount of time, treating witnessing as a task, instead of remembering that God cares so much about people as individuals and that should be my focus too. I should be doing it because I care, not because I want get it done. Remembering that also takes the focus off me and what I can do and back onto God and the miracles He can work in others’ lives.

    So, of course it varies for every situation, but I think witnessing despite feeling spiritually inadequate can be a great way to push us to depend on God fully, and put the life back into our spiritual life. It also helps us relate to others who have spiritual doubts.. But, I feel like I have just preached a sermon here, sorry! I’m eager to hear what you think about it! And how do you think we can overcome spiritual dryness? Is there something that has worked for you in those wilderness seasons?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmm. Yeah, I know what you mean about not being on a “Spiritual High”. I totally agree with what Jessica said, the first point was really good. If we are not feeling especially passionate in our faith where we want to go and share our faith, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we shouldn’t do it. Hannah had a lot of the excuses that fit very well. “I’m not in the mood…” But I think, honestly, that sharing our faith really helps our relationship with Christ increase!
    In that book by Mark Cahill he used an analogy about “adding wood to the fire” the fire is our passion and zeal for Christ and our willingness to follow Him. Sometimes you feel close to Him and “on fire”, and sometimes you feel more dry, but witnessing is something that “adds wood” to our passion for Him. So, I think that if you feel kind of spiritually dry, witnessing is something that will be extremely helpful. Like Jessica said, it requires us to “depend on God fully.”
    And what I think, is that witnessing is a privilege and a responsibility (because Jesus commands us to make disciples) but I don’t think that we should have the mindset of it being a responsibility. Jessica had a great point talking about how we need to have the right motives… (caring for the people, not the job or number of things we are handing out, etc.) I think that if we look at the people like this, it will give us new purpose and passion to share the Gospel. But also, we should view it as a need. Because it really helps our relationship with Christ.

    And Jordy, I will reply separately to answer the question on Gospel Threads. 😀

    Like

  6. I’m going to enter your discussion if you don’t mind, Jordy. 🙂 I really, really agree with what Jessica had to say! Witnessing truly is one of the best ways to draw closer to Jesus and we will also have to get in the Word to find answers to people’s questions. I think if you’re in a “spiritual wilderness” of sorts witnessing would be a great way to revive your relationship with God. And I’m preaching to myself because I feel the same…the feeling of being distant from God. I’m working on ways I can draw closer to Him! Do you have any ways that help you through these times?

    And I totally agree with your second point, Jessica. We should take it seriously and I think it is a responsibility, but we also need to think of Jesus and his love for each person we talk to and not think of it as a “task”. I think there’s a difference between something being a “task” and a “responsibility”. I do agree with Josiah though that we should make it be something that is a joy and not something that we do “because we should”. I think we have to be careful though that if we’re not feeling joyful or wanting to do it a certain day that we don’t just not do it. I think feelings will follow actions and we will get caught up in God’s amazing mission if we just step out and talk to people. What do you think? I love all these discussions! I think it helps us all just to write out our thoughts. =)

    Like

  7. Since we all seem to be in the same discussion here, I’ll just share my thoughts to what you all in one place.

    Praise God that I – we – could be of any encouragement to you, Jessica! After all, you have been of such encouragement to me, too. And who has answers, after all? Thank you so much for sharing your experience! Even in bringing up the topic of witnessing for discussion, I’m a baby with regards to my experience. So I love to hear from people who have experience that I don’t. Though I haven’t witnessed consistently enough to see a pattern, I have witnessed to a couple of people recently, and I understand what you’re saying about witnessing putting the life back into our spiritual life, as you said.

    Josiah, the analogy that you shared from that book, On Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven – the one about the fire and the wood – that’s really easy to understand and connect with. I didn’t understand something that you said a bit later, though. “And what I think, is that witnessing is a privilege and a responsibility (because Jesus commands us to make disciples) but I don’t think that we should have the mindset of it being a responsibility.” Was your point that we should respond to Jesus’ command (since it is a command, after all) but not to approach it as an item on a to-do list? If that’s what you were saying, what are your thoughts on how we can keep a right mindset? And if that’s not what you meant, sorry for putting words in your mouth! Feel free to explain. 🙂

    Of course I don’t mind that you join the conversation, Hannah! It’s my pleasure to have you join. X) I like what you said, “feelings will follow actions.” As for what I do when I’m in a wilderness season in my spiritual life, in the past, there are two particular things I’ve done that have brought me back to a place of feeling connected to God: (1) praying aloud and (2)writing out a prayer. In both cases, I’ve told Him exactly how I’m feeling as honestly as I know how, and asked Him to help me. I can remember having a Bible nearby, and if/as the Holy Spirit brought particular verses to mind, I looked them up (even if I could already say the verses from memory, I found it helpful to physically look up the verses in my physical Bible). Then I read those verses aloud or wrote them down. All that said, these aren’t fool-proof methods. I don’t believe there are any fool-proof methods. The initiatives we take to be with God are important and have their place, but ultimately, it has to be the Holy Spirit working.

    Like

  8. Wow, those are great things that you do! And I really agree…there is no fool proof method. I always hate it when somebody says “this will draw you closer to God…for sure…or this method of studying the Bible will work for you. I think tips are so helpful, but we all have to figure out what works for us. So I appreciated how you said it wasn’t a fool proof method and it worked for *you*. Thank you for telling me!! And I’ll comment back when others comment. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, to say something like “this will draw you closer to God for sure” is catchy and makes readers want to read on… but beyond that, I think it’s only misleading and for that reason, I think it’s very harmful. What about you? What do you do in wilderness seasons to draw near to God?

      Like

  9. Yes, I really agree! We all have different ways that work for us to draw closer to God and there’s no “perfectly right way”. It is helpful though to share what we do and get ideas we could try! =) How do you do your quiet times?

    For me as I’m going through this “wilderness season” and really wanting that intimacy with God, but not feeling close to Him there’s a few things that I just started doing that I think will help. The biggest one is I remember there was a time in my life where I felt really close to Him and that was when I would go to our loft(or any very quiet place away from activity) and just have a “un-planned” time with Jesus. I would sing, pour out my heart in prayer, read anywhere in scripture I felt like, listen to a bunch of uplifting music, write out my thoughts/prayers, and read Christian living books. I’d do this pretty much every day for maybe an hour or two and that was the time when I thought the most about Jesus throughout the day and felt the closest to Him. So on Saturday and then yesterday I did that for about 1-2 hours and the first day was hard because I honestly still didn’t feel close to God after it, but yesterday was a lot better and though I never got the feeling of being close to God I absolutely loved the time spent up there, felt a lot more at peace, I had to make myself break away because I loved it up there, and I think if I do this every day slowly I will draw closer to God and the “feeling” of being closer to Him will come since in my “actions” I’m growing closer to Him. Does that make sense? What are your thoughts?

    Like

  10. Yes, Jordy, I meant it as we don’t want it do be like a to-do list. sharing our faith is definitely a responsibility, but if we view it as something we need to do, or something that we have to do, then our motives are wrong. We can easily start becoming legalistic… Like I ‘need’ to pass out a certain amount of Gospel tracts, share the Gospel with a certain amount of people each year, etc. Thank you for clearing that up! That’s exactly what I mean. Hmm, keeping a mindset of it not being like a to-do list would be pretty difficult. I think it ultimately needs to be a change from the heart. Another thing is it needs to be through love that you reach out to people. It is a responsibility given from Jesus but our motives should by through love. We love Jesus so much we want to tell about him. We love the people around us so we want to tell them the way to eternal life. And, you can imagine how having a mindset like that effects the way we reach out! 😉

    And, to go back to your question on what I’ve gleaned from the most on the “Threads” series…. One of the main things I noticed, was how he emphasized the “showing people that they are sinners” part. What I mean, is he said that people go really quickly to the witnessing part where they talk about the Gift God gave to us, but we really need to spend more time on showing the lost their lost-ness first. If they commit to following Jesus, their commitment will be more sincere if they realize more and more how lost they are. And it was also very challenging as far as having our daily conversations and our interactions with people to be full with threads of the Gospel. It’s not always sharing the Gospel, but showing small pictures of the Gospel, using our lives to share the Gospel, and just showing God in everything we say and do. That was very encouraging and challenging!

    Like

  11. What you said, Josiah, makes me think of what Galatians 5:14 tells us: “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” After all, it’s the second greatest command after loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind. So I think you’re right in saying that we will have the right mindset about reaching out to the unsaved if we do it in love. Sometimes it’s hard to know what love is. It’s not always what they want to hear. We want them to hear the truth because a watered-down version of the gospel (or no gospel) won’t save them, but the raw gospel is hard to hear. And thanks for sharing what you’ve most valued from the Threads series!

    And Hannah! X) My quiet time, as in the routine time I spend with God alone, varies as far as what I do. Some common things I do are reading my Bible (surface reading), studying it, memorizing verses or passages, reading Christian living books and the verses they reference, praying in my head or aloud while walking, singing to God, journaling my prayers, journaling praise items… on the one hand, writing such a list seems to reduce my time with God to routine actions. But I think we need to remember that without the Holy Spirit, that’s all it is. I can’t – we can’t – manufacture a spiritual revival. Only the Holy Spirit can stir in us that thirst for Him and quench it. With that in mind, I think it can be helpful to share habits. It’s special to hear about the “extra” time that you’ve been using to just *be* with God, lately, even though none of it is really and truly extra since it’s all a gift from Him in the first place. How important do you think it is for us to have “that feeling” of being really close to Him?

    Like

  12. I don’t feel like I have anything to add to this conversation, but I’m really appreciating everything everyone is sharing!

    Hannah, I liked what you said “feelings will follow actions and we will get caught up in God’s amazing mission if we just step out and talk to people.” That’s so encouraging for those times when we’re not feeling so enthusiastic!

    Wow Josiah, that’s a good point you have about showing people their need of a Saviour before telling them of salvation! That’s honestly something I haven’t considered, but it makes a lot of sense. How did “Gospel Threads” suggest sharing that with people, while being sensitive to their feelings? Maybe I should watch the series myself – it sounds good!

    And Jordy and Hannah, you’ve both given me some more ideas for spending time with God, and getting closer to Him! I like what you said, Jordy, about the Holy Spirit giving us a thirst for God, and then quenching it; it’s encouraging to know that when we feel a hungering for God, it’s because He’s giving us that desire, and He will fill it. Sorry to jump in on the question you asked Hannah, but that is a really good question – how important is that really close feeling? In some ways I think it is important to feel close to God, because it is important to be close to God, but on the other hand, feeling a little distant keeps us hungering for Him and drives us to pursue Him with all our hearts.. I don’t know! I’m eager to see what everyone else has to say about it! Maybe it depends whether there is something particular keeping us from Him?

    Like

  13. Actually, yeah. That is a really good point, Jessica. Maybe the importance of *feeling* close to God does depend on whether or not there is something particular keeping us from Him.

    I had been thinking that maybe we turn to that feeling of closeness rather than to God Himself (because sometimes a feeling seems more real?). I hear about idolizing things and idolizing people. Do you think it’s also possible to idolize a feeling; even if that feeling is closeness to God? But then your comment made me think more. Perhaps the feeling is also somewhat of a gauge of our relationship with God – whether or not we are in the right place, spiritually. I wonder… do you know of any Bible verses that touch on the matter? I can’t think of any at this point…

    Like

  14. Yes, I’ve been thinking on that too. I think a feeling can help us know if we’re close to God or not, but also we can’t put all of our hope on feelings. I thought Leslie Ludy had an excellent message on things that keep us from being close to God. You can look it up: Undivided Heart Part 2, Leslie Ludy. The Part 1 is SO good too!!!

    I think we can’t put all our hope in feelings, but also I think if we’re trying to draw really close to God in our actions by spending more time with Him, witnessing, etc the feelings will follow.

    I’m going to have to look in the Bible and see if there’s any verses on that. 🙂

    Like

  15. Hannah! I watched part 1 of the message you referenced (since I wanted to watch part 2, I decided that I might as well watch the part before it, first :D) Anyway, I’m glad I did! I’ve heard Leslie Ludy’s name here and there, but never had I read or listened to anything she has written or said before. I really like a lot of what she said, and there were things – even in part 1 – about being in that wilderness sort of place or feeling distant from God.

    Thanks for sharing, and thanks for your own thoughts, too. X)

    Like

      1. I finished watching it today. 🙂 Leslie’s points made it easy for me to identify my own “breaches”, “idols” and “self-justifications”.

        A couple of times she said that people tend to excuse a non-devoted attitude towards God by saying that to have that whole-hearted devotion is legalism. “We can’t be spiritual all the time.”

        Also, at one point, she explained the difference between the devil’s condemnation and spiritual conviction. This was very timely for me. I have been struggling with a certain question. I thought I might be feeling convicted about fasting regularly, but then thought it would be too legalistic. Can you remember a time when you have been confused between conviction and condemnation?

        Anyway… my goodness, there were so many good points in Leslie’s message!

        Like

  16. Jordy that is so awesome!!! I really was convicted when she mentioned the quote about how when we don’t like something God wants us to do we call it legalism. I thought that was very true…she said that legalism is really relying on our own strength to do something instead of Jesus Christ. What did you think on that point?

    Oh, wow. That is definitely true…conviction and condemnation…I can’t specifically think of a time at the moment, but I’m sure that I have. And do you mind clarifying quick…were you saying that you thought that God convicted you that he wanted you to fast regularly, but then you thought that would be legalistic? Sorry, I was confused there. 🙂

    And yes! There are sooo many good points! If you like her teachings she has two more called “True Beauty” and “True Purity”. They are both really really good!

    Like

    1. Yes, that part about legalism really stood out to me. It’s interesting… I don’t think the Bible has the word “legalism” in it (at least not the NIV, which is what I use, and at least not in the main text – I’m not sure about the headers). I was surprised by this because it seems to be such a big deal in the Bible. But when I tried to see what the Bible itself had to say about it, and when I found that it didn’t have this actual word, I was surprised. But even if it doesn’t use the actual word, “legalism”, I’m sure it still has much to say about it as an attitude. I think of the Pharisees, some false teachers in the early Church and maybe some of the prophecies in tho Old Testament. All this is to say that I would like to read up more on what the Bible has to say about legalism, but as far as I understand it now, I think that how Leslie defined it fits well.

      And about the fasting, I was thinking about how I barely ever fast except for on special occasions. It seems so distant from my regular life. And you know that still small voice? I think maybe God was prompting me to look into it more. What place does fasting have in the daily, weekly, and monthly routine? What is it for? Etc. Then when the words “fast” and “routine” came together in the same thought, I kind of shut down, thought something along the lines of, “If I fast regularly, it will be legalism”. And I tried to push any thoughts about fasting to the back of my mind. But I didn’t have peace about pushing them away. So maybe that second thought, the one about fasting regularly being legalism, was from the devil, him not wanting me to follow Jesus. Does that make more sense?

      Oh, I did see those other videos along the side. I might check them out some time (though I can’t commit at the moment).

      Like

  17. Yes, it is interesting how the Bible never mentions being legalistic, etc. I thought Leslie’s definition was very good though too!

    Ooh, I see…yes I think that would be Satan if you felt God prompting you to do something and then their was that whisper of…”that would be legalism”. I think it is an easy lie that we’ve all fallen for!

    No pressure to watch the others, but they are super good! =)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s