Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

A Lived Witness

Today guest blogger Joe Tucker shares some wise thoughts. Joe is the executive director at Akron’s South Street Ministries. Check out their website and all they do to influence for Christ. Joe is married and the father of a young son. Enjoy this thoughtful challenge!

A Lived Witness

We recently had a minor theological tussle at the Front Porch Café in South Akron. One patron donated a piece of artwork with the St. Francis quote, “Preach the Gospel Always, Use Words When Necessary.” This patron loves Jesus, has a broad theology, and values those who ‘do.’

His donation incited another friend of the ministry to donate an opposing piece of religious art with a verse from John 3:16 on it. This alternative donor subscribes deeply to the evangelical faith, visits the prisons weekly to minister, and genuinely encourages individuals to believe in Jesus.

I am not one for fruitless theological debates. The perceived issue that both of these patrons felt was the act of Christian witness and the differential between word and deed. For this blog today, thought driven action, I want to challenge that differential and move us to a lived witness.

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I visited a Kenmore church recently and ran into an old youth group leader of mine. This leader nostalgically recalled a mission trip we had taken together my sophomore year of high school to New York City to witness on the street. It was a challenge and uncomfortable, talking to strangers about faith and the afterlife.

I find myself much more comfortable sharing my faith today, because Jesus is narrative of my daily life, decisions, and actions. When a friend asks how I am doing, I can honestly answer, “I’m struggling right now, it’s been a tough week. I’ve been praying about it, but I feel distant from God.”

This honest answer, is often more inviting to a conversation than any of the apologetic strategies I learned on that mission trip years ago. When someone inquires how my family is, I can honestly reply, “My wife and I have been praying together more, and it has really helped deepen our relationship.” Again, I have found that by honestly citing what God is doing in my life, the door opens up for conversation around faith, God, and Jesus.

However, to enact this reality, we as Christ-followers actually have to live a life worthy of witness. The challenges I had in New York were connected to the reality that my life wasn’t an active witness. Now I can cite the many ways God is working in my life: the neighbor who I am trying to love better, the family member I am seeking reconciliation with, the systems of oppression I am learning about and moving to resist. All of these bear witness to the reality of God in my life, and we can share those witnesses with folks around us in both word and deed.

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