If you’ve grown up churched, you may have an idea in your head of what being a witness for Christ means. You may remember classes on the Romans Road, tracts, or other tools that were common means of sharing your faith in decades past. However, being a witness is something that doesn’t require special tools or knowledge outside what every believer has been given, namely the Holy Spirit and new life in Christ. Many passages of 1 Peter give instruction to this notion. 1 Peter 1:13-16 says,
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
In short, being a faithful witness mostly involves living in a way that shows you actually believe what you say you believe. Your actions should always precede your words, and serve as evidence of the truths of the gospel changing everything. This doesn’t mean being perfect, but it does mean that you are living in submission to the Holy Spirit in a way that sanctification is apparent. Let’s look at a few ways this kind of witness plays out.
This is among the greatest mission fields parents will encounter, and it’s an important one for the rest of us, too. Whether it’s your children, spouse, roommates, or neighbors, God has given you very close access to people for whom you can be a great witness. Inside your home, this looks like having authentic gospel conversations with your family or roommates, and generously giving of your time and resources to those you live with. It means confessing sin and wrongdoing and repenting openly. For neighbors, this can mean something as simple as keeping up your house and lawn as means to honor them, and even assisting them to do the same.
The second-greatest mission field many will encounter is the workplace. Most of our waking hours are spent here, and there are people who will see us for great stretches of time. So what does a great witness in the workplace look like? For one, it looks like working hard without grumbling or complaining. Seeing our job as a gift, and not something we earned or deserve, is key to providing a proper attitude and approach to our work. If our work is a gift from God, how can we be angry when we’re asked to do our job? The greatest witness to God’s grace in your life will be the attitude and excellence with which you complete your tasks, and the hard work put into everything set before you.
Due to different interests and lifestyles, there are unlimited possibilities as to where these third places are. These places take up the remainder of our time. However, the principles of how to be a witness remain the same: live as one who has hope in Christ. When discussing politics, remember that your hope is not in a kingdom on earth, but a kingdom founded in heaven. When competing, remember that you are to count others as more significant than yourself, whether you are the victor or not. When spending money at a place of business, remember to treat both other patrons and the employees with dignity and respect as fellow image bearers of Christ.
One of the goals of a Christian’s life is for everything we do to be out of the overflow of God’s love that has been poured into us. But it doesn’t stop at the action and behavior that may set us apart. 1 Peter 3:15 says “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
Whether we do well at living in a Christ-like manner is irrelevant if we never proclaim the gospel when given the opportunity. While this task may be daunting for some, there’s an easy way to practice. Start by proclaiming the gospel in the context of fellow believers, reminding one another of the hope we have in Jesus. Joining a group is among the easiest avenues to get started.