Its not your witness that saves!
I remember hearing a story of a man who had been reaching out to a friend for some time, going through scripture, explaining the details of the meaning of Christianity and Jesus’s life. He seemed to be getting nowhere over a number of months, eventually one night the Christian lost his temper with his friend. It was this night however that his friend got it! He said all along I have seen how loving you were, how patient and kind and it wasn’t until I saw you lose your temper that I thought this is real and I can do this Christianity thing. Somehow this person had looked at how well behaved this Christian was and though I can never do that, Christianity must all be about how we behave, the night he saw his friend lose his temper he began to see it was more than that! What am I saying here?
I am not saying that we should go round losing our temper or that how we behave doesn’t somehow have an impact on those around us as we reach out with the news of Christ. However what I am saying is it is the gospel that saves and not our witness ability or effectiveness. It is not our nice Christian smile, our large quiche that we bake, our ability to keep calm in a traffic jam, our refusal to swear wonderful as all these things might be. As Paul said, ” I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16. It is the good news of who Jesus is and what he has done to allow us to enter into that life giving relationship with the trinity, its that which saves.
We have the tendency to want to make our evangelism about us, as if somehow your neighbour coming to faith depended on how good a Christian you could be. We then get ourselves in knots, at the neighbour barbecue party we worry about how much we are drinking or whether we are being happy enough and end up displaying a neurotic type of Christianity that is far removed from “the truth that sets us free”. The joy that it depends on Jesus to save people, it depends on the gospel and not our good works I pray produces a freedom and greater love for what Christ has done. In that greater love we will naturally swear less, love more and care for our neighbour not because we ‘have’ to or because it produces anything just because we become like the thing we love.
Take the pressure off, enjoy Jesus and let him do the rest, abide in Christ and you will indeed bear much fruit!
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