Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Implications of Being a Witness

The western interpretation of what the Christian’s role in the world is today tends to make too much of the believer’s activity while at the same time diminishing its wholesale nature. In other words, we think we have far more influence on God’s plan than we do, and yet at the same time we do not risk what we should.

The believer is called to be a witness. This is not a passive role, but it is also not an instigating one. The role of the witness is to observe and make known. In the case of an expert witness, they are required to know as much as possible about the subject that they bear witness too. So a Christian should be able to, at a moment’s notice, share all that they know about God and what they have seen firsthand or heard about Him doing in the world. Their first hand knowledge of Him and His activity should be vast and growing.

Instead of seeing their role as soul savers, church planters or world changers they should instead understand that it is God who does those things and their job is to be the person calling everybody’s attention to it. Even with the fact that God clearly uses His people to accomplish His plans, His people should point out how everything that has been done was beyond them and not done by them. Basically, they are to glorify God by bringing the justly deserved attention back on Him. In a sense, every God-given task a believer is asked to perform boils down to them bringing attention to what God has done and is doing.

With all the misunderstanding one sees among believers on this issue—the way they see their role as being the moving force in God’s plan—one would think that they would be a little more sold out in their commitment. Instead, there is far less commitment than what truly being a “mere” witness requires. When Jesus called on His followers to be witnesses in Acts, the word used in the Bible is actually martyr. The fact that a witness and a martyr are exactly the same thing has been lost in the translation. However, that is the level of commitment the job demands. A true witness does not just share what they know to be true; they stick to it in the face of death.

So where do you fall on the spectrum? Do you see your role as being bigger than it is, or could you not be bothered to speak up enough?

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