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Are You a Good Witness?

We most commonly use the word "witness" in a legal sense to refer to a person who testifies in a trial.  A witness can testify on behalf of or against an accused person, but the most important criterion of a good witness in our system of justice is that he or she tells the truth.  We always please God when we tell the truth (Proverbs 12:22).  He explicitly tells us in the Ninth Commandment to not "bear false witness against your neighbor" (Deuteronomy 5:20).


As believing Christians, we are called to be witnesses for God and to testify on His behalf.  That is, we are called to tell others about God, His Truth, and His plan for us, as revealed to us in the Bible.  As the ultimate witness and as a part of God's plan, Jesus set the example for us in witnessing.  Even the Son of God did not exempt Himself from witnessing.  When He was speaking to Pilate, Jesus said "This is why I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the Truth" (John 18:37).  At the time of His ascension, Jesus charged His disciples with the responsibility of witnessing for Him when He would no longer be with them physically (Acts 1:8, 10:42).  They accepted this charge and faithfully preached the good news of Jesus in spite of being persecuted and shamed by the authorities (Acts 5:40-42).  The disciples' written testimony is a tremendous and joyful blessing for us, since they were eyewitnesses to Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection (Acts 2:32, 5:29-32, 10:39-41).  Thus, their recorded testimonies are invaluable to us and a source of great hope for us as we work to stay strong in our faith.  Paul also testified extensively about God, Jesus. and the Holy Spirit in his letters.


As followers of Jesus, we, too, should follow His example and be witnesses.  This includes speaking to others about God's Word and Jesus, but, more importantly, also emulating Jesus and setting the example for others by how we live our lives.  Jesus said "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).  Paul talks about us being an "exhibit" and a "spectacle" to the world (1 Corinthians 4:9).  Sometimes our witness to the Truth may require us to speak out when we see sin and wrong in the world.  This may not always be easy for us, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we should be able to summon the strength to do it.  Jesus said "Pay attention and always be on your guard.  If your brother sins, solemnly tell him so and reprove him, and if he repents, forgive him" (Luke 17:3).  We are also called to testify in defense of God's Word against those who would try to change it (Deuteronomy 4:1-2, Psalm 119:126-129, 2 Peter 2:1-4, Revelation 22:18-20).  This type of witnessing is especially important in our time as we try to deal with the forces of moral relativism that have crept into our increasing secular culture.  Jesus gave us His clear perspective on witnessing when he told His disciples not to fear other people, but to fear God (Luke 12:4-5).


So we should ask ourselves whether or not we are faithfully witnessing for God and Jesus in our daily lives.  When He was still with His disciples, Jesus told them that they would receive the power to witness from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, John 16:13).  He described how awesome this power could be in Luke 12:11-12 when He told them not to worry about what to say when they were brought before the authorities, because the Holy Spirit would "teach" them what to say.  Thus, whether we witness in word or deed, we should remember that the Holy Spirit is also with us, to support and guide us.  Knowing that we have this help should inspire and empower us.  The Disciple Group recommends that you think about your efforts to witness and that you ask God, through the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life, to strengthen your resolve and ability to be a good witness for Him.