Witnessing for Christ

“Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” –Mark 13:11 (NIV)

I used to be enrolled in a Toastmasters class in order to improve my public speaking skills. As part of the activities that we would participate in, we were asked to pick a random topic out of a hat and speak on it for about two to four minutes. Sometimes you would know something about the topic you have picked, but most of the time you wouldn’t know anything all. I remember when I used to get a topic that I had little knowledge about; it was hard to speak on it even for the short amount of time I was given. I was always worried if I was presenting myself clearly and hoping that I was not making myself look ignorant.

Often when we are put on the spot against our will by those who may view our faith in Christ with cynicism and confront us for our belief in Him, we may react in the same way. Our shock at the sudden nature of the circumstances we find ourselves in, coupled with our nervousness and anxiety in making sure we use the right words to present a bold witness for Christ, leaves us stammering and hoping that our “interrogation” will be over soon. After the pressure is off us, we question whether in that moment we were bold witness for Christ at all.

It is true that we must be prepared to answer opposition and tell them of the life-changing power of Christ. We prepare ourselves for this inevitability by spending time in God’s Word and meditating on what He has done in our lives. Yet sometimes, in our moments of weakness, we feel as if we have failed to be the witnesses for Christ that we are called to be; resulting in anxiety overwhelming us. Thankfully we don’t have to go through this anxiety. If we allow Christ to speak through us, asking Him to guide our words and control our thoughts, automatically He will give us the words to say and how to say them. When we rely on our own strength to be witnesses for Christ, we will stumble because it was not of our own effort that we were saved from sin. Since we were freed solely because of Christ’s sacrifice and Him coming to reside in our hearts, He is the only one who can speak of the redemptive work in our lives and spread His message. All that Christ asks is that we have an open heart for Him to use and to speak to others about His plan for all His creation. The result will surprise us when we have allowed God to speak through us and all we will be able to do is to praise Him. Our words are not to bring glory to ourselves or to our own abilities in living the Christian life, but it should reveal to others that there is a transcendent and powerful God who loves humanity so much that He is actively seeking to restore humanity from its degradation.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Staying Strong

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” -Hebrews 12:3 (ESV)

The Christian life is not for the faint of heart. Although our Christ-guided lifestyle may earn the respect and admiration of some, it will be a subject of scorn for others. Christians throughout history have been persecuted by people who live lifestyles that are antithetical to the righteousness, integrity, and purity that Christ calls His children to follow with His help. It offends some who believe that Christianity stands against their culture and everything they hold dear. When such people come and try to crush our faith, we may be able to successfully resist their attempts. But we must confess that it is disheartening to see so much opposition to something that we know will save them and the rest of the world from destroying itself.

As children of Christ, we often feel entitled to be loved by everyone. The truth of the matter is that as long as humans continue to bow down to sin and its false promises of freedom, we will be hated for the stance we have taken to choose Christ and His righteousness. We need to accept that we will not be loved by all and that we cannot force anyone to love and accept us. If we do, we risk the prospect of propelling others further away from Christ.

However, before we sink into despair over the fact that we will not be loved by everyone, we must remember that our Saviour was hated and mocked as well. Despite His efforts to bring people out of their depravity and reconcile man with God, He was spat on, flogged, and suffered the humiliating death of being nailed to a cross. Yet how did He deal with opposition? By dusting the sandals of His feet and praying for them. This should be our response too. Our faith is not determined by what others think of us, but it is determined by who Christ is and what He has done for us and the world. We shouldn’t let opposition get us down knowing that though Christ Himself faced the same, it did not stop Him in redemptive mission. Our Saviour, who knew what it was like to be rejected, will be our comfort and strength through those times when we feel alone and hated. We are loved by the Creator of the universe as His own children. In Him, who is the final authority on everything in this world, we find our sense of worth and identity. He will give us the confidence and boldness to continue to witness for Him through all opposition while remembering that we do not save people from themselves. Christ is the one that saves and our detractors need to come to Him of their own free will and in accordance with God’s timing and purpose for their lives.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Suffering for the Faith

“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,” –Philippians 1:29 (ESV)

The Christian message is an offensive one. It demands people to forsake their autonomy and their desires to a God they cannot see or touch. For this reason Christians are mocked for their perceived irrationality, and persecuted for their non-conformist stance against culture when it goes against the principles of Christ. As Christians, we are to be aware and to be prepared to face opposition for the beliefs and Saviour we have chosen to follow. At times, standing up for the cause of Christ will be hard and uncomfortable to do. However, in the face of opposition, Christ will be our comfort and strength; even when those closest to us have ceased to be so on account of our belief in Him.

At the same time, it is easy to develop a victim mentality. Often I have heard stories from other Christians claming to have been unjustly slandered for their faith in Christ. Yet when I look at their lives and how they act towards those who do not to the same faith, I can understand why they were. It is important that whenever we go out we should remind ourselves who we represent and acknowledge that we represent Him through our actions, words, and thoughts whether we want to or not. Being inconsiderate, obnoxiously judgmental, and an all-around jerk, and then claiming to be persecuted for your faith when the angry criticism piles on, is not a good witness for Christ. People should be offended by the message of Christ because of its claims, not because of the actions and words of its followers. We must always be willing to examine ourselves and our attitudes, and we should be quick to acknowledge our faults when confronted with them and actively seek to change them. In doing so, we become more effective witnesses for Christ and people around us will take notice. They will respect your beliefs because they truly see a love which can only come from God evident in your life, and that will give you an avenue to share the message of Christ with them.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.