Don’t just sit there, do something!
God did not rest on the seventh day because He needed a nap, but because He wanted us to continue His work of creation. God did not put us here to rest but to work.
Before Jesus left, He commanded His disciples to complete His work as well. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28: 18-19
To help us do this, He sent the Holy Spirit. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses.” Acts 1:8
So the whole Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–calls and equips us to get busy bearing witness in the world.
A witness in court is a person who reports what they have seen, heard, or experienced. In the New Testament, being a witness is publicly verifying the reality of Christ. We can only bear witness if Christ is real to us. Otherwise, we are reporting hearsay evidence.
Being a witness isn’t the same as being a preacher or an evangelist. Preachers and teachers communicate what they read in the Bible or theology books. A preacher may tell the story of Jesus even though they weren’t there to personally see it. A good storyteller can, with creativity and imagery, make the listener feel they were actually there, but the storyteller was not present there.
But witnesses can’t do that. They can’t embellish or fill in the gaps with their imagination. They are bound only to tell what they themselves have experienced. A witness does not present evidence in court. A witness is evidence.
So it is with us. Bearing witness for Christ is being evidence. It isn’t preaching; it is living. We are living proof of an encounter with God. Bearing witness is living as people of faith, expressing the effects of our encounter with God in every place we touch the world around us.
If we think that bearing witness is merely communicating Biblical and theological information, then we have already disconnected outer faith from inner essence. So we should not be surprised if our so-called converts compartmentalize their faith from their lives. Sharing our faith becomes winning an argument. Our real witness comes more from how we live in our daily lives, not what we preach. It is how we display in the public arena our inner, faith-shaped nature in Christ.
A flower bears witness of the beauty of God; a thunderstorm bears witness to His power. Yet neither says a word. They glorify God by who they are, not by what they do. When what we are and what we have experienced is lived out before the world, then we are witnesses to the transforming power of God.
But for us to bear witness, we have to get out of the house. We are not a witness if we exist alone, but only when we venture out into a world that is different from us. Salt is useless if it stays in the saltshaker. Perfume is wasted in the bottle. We have to get out among others to bear witness to the world.
Bearing witness requires three things—Sincerity, Love, and Service.
“Sincere” comes from the Latin phrase “sine cere,” meaning “without salt.” Merchants who sold marble would cover up imperfections in the marble by rubbing salt into the cracks. A “sincere” stone was one with no salt, where there was nothing to hide.
There is no deception in God; no attempt to hide, cover or deceive. He tells us to “walk in the light,” that is, without pretense or deception, just as God does with us.
When we walk in sincerity, we are honest with the world around us. We do not put a smile on our faces when we are really hurting. We don’t try to “fake it till we make it.”
A sincere person’s head, heart, and actions are one. If our feelings and beliefs are out of sync, we seek to change one or the other. If we live below the standard of what we believe, we admit it and make changes. We have an inner integrity.
When we do this, we automatically bear witness. People see God in us, even when we are not trying to witness. We are witnesses to Christ only to the degree that we cultivate transparency.
Love is the second requirement of witness; love of God, self, and others. These three loves cannot be separated. If we love God and believe God loves us, then we have to love ourselves. If God also loves others, then we will love others also.
Following Christ means choosing to be compassionate. Jesus makes this clear in Matthew 25:21-46: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Christ identifies with the suffering. He claims that serving them is serving Him.
Loving God leads us into the larger world, helping the poor, sharing the good news of Christ, and speaking out against injustices. In this way, we complete the work God set for us to do. We are finishing the part of creation that God left unfinished.
Service. Donald Whitney observed, “When God calls His elect to Himself, He calls no one to idleness.” Service is an expression of who we are in Christ. Idleness is a retreat from the world. It assumes that we have no reason to leave anything behind, or obligation to care. We do not act, because we fear the hassle that serving others will bring.
We cannot serve everyone all the time. But we should start by serving those nearest to us first: our family, coworkers, and neighbors. Jesus defines neighbors as those whom God leads across our path. Being a witness starts with getting active where we are, in the home and the neighborhood where we live.
So don’t just sit there. Do something. Start in your own home, your street, and your neighborhood. Get out there and serve, and take the love of Jesus with you!