We all have a message to share. The problem occurs when our lips get ahead of our lives. There is little more damaging than a person screaming Jesus from the rooftops while living a life bent on destruction. It happens all the time and I honestly believe it’s a huge part of the reason evil seems to be so rapidly gaining ground.
We have the words, the head knowledge and the zeal…but somehow we’ve misplaced them. Or misapplied them. Or perhaps we’ve even misused them. Whatever the case may be, we have the arsenal without the wherewithal to let it go to war with us. Why? Because we’re a people that tend to get things a little backward. We throw the cart before the horse and then trample right over it as we hurry on toward righteousness. We so often totally forget that we need Christ to teach us to be Christlike.
Set aside all your books. Hide those sermons on DVD from yourself for awhile. Unplug from the overwhelming online world and focus on just being still. Quiet. Teachable.
The Lord whispers in our hearts words of wisdom we never hear because we’re listening for the voices of everyone else to instruct us. We deny our faith in Him by placing it far too securely in mortal man.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
So let’s say we’ve been astutely in the Word of God and we feel that we’re standing on pretty solid ground. How do we share what we’re learning with others? How can we offer them a sip from the fountainwithout drowning them in the process?
First of all, remember your actions are many times more powerful than your words. You can stand outside an abortion clinic and labor tirelessly to convince those frightened, yet determined, mothers to turn the other way. You can head into the prisons and evangelize those despondent captives, offering them a glimmer of the hope to be found in a life lived for Jesus. But if those same people you’ve reached in the darkness should meet you on the street in the light, will they be put off by what they find when you’re off-duty?
The Christian life isn’t a punch-in punch-out experience. You are on in your home when your child tests you. You’re on when your husband chooses to lay on the couch rather than help around the house. And you’re on when you’re in stop and go traffic as you hurry to the airport. That doesn’t mean you’ll never fail or fall or slip. It simply means that even YOU never stop needing the Jesus you’ve been preaching! When you step off the straight path, run to Him and ask for help to make things right. People don’t mind if you’re less than perfect, but they need to see you striving to put yourself fully in His care. THAT is when your testimony really jumps with life!
In this modern, ultra-connected age we have even more obstacles and opportunities to deny our own message. Here are 5 things that can quickly kill your testimony…
- Fail to live an authentic life online. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, blogging….you name it. They are all avenues to portray yourself as the person you’ve never quite been able to live up to in the flesh. Don’t be one-dimensional in your online relationships. You want people to recognize you in a chance off-screen encounter, not be left wondering which is the real you. Don’t be fooled…they will almost always accept the lesser you as the true one!
- Use the lines of social media to hang your dirty laundry. We all experience rough patches and frustration that leaves us tempted to tell whoever might be willing to listen. But when exposing information online, it’s best to adhere to the less-is-more rule. Choose with care and great caution that which you reveal, considering whether it will bring glory to God or if it will simply make you feel better while you vent.
- Be a screaming preacher in your status updates. If all you ever post are lists of musts and must nots people will stop listening. They’ll “hide” you and you’ll find your reach diminishing along with your impact. Jesus lived among the people. He shared their heartaches and filled their needs. His message carried such amazing power because it wasn’t just a bunch of words shot out in an effort to bring about change. He loved first. Often. Always.
- Talk more. Live less. Ahh, this one speaks to me. As one who loves the written word and uses it as a platform to share what is on my heart, I have found I can “talk” myself right out of truly living. At some point, sooner rather than later preferably, we need to learn to hush and simply live the life He has called us to. Some of the most effective evangelism is done when the tongue is silenced.
- Overlook the people right in front of you. You’re sharing a testimony in your own home and in your front yard. People are watching even when you don’t want them to be. This is precisely why it’s so important to begin every day with a portion of time alone with God. He imparts the strength and desire to put off the old man, enabling you to live a life of transparent grace. Every single person you encounter matters, from the smallest in stature to the closest in proximity.
What am I missing? Share your own thoughts so we can learn from you!