I will sing my witness song,
I will sing it all day long,
For a world that’s gone so wrong,
I will sing it loud and strong.
If you know Jesus then sing along,
Will you sing your witness song,
Will you sing it all day long,
Good news we must pass along,
Heaven’s where we all belong.
We hear Jesus sing his witness song.
We hear Jesus sing his song,
He’ll be back before too long,
‘Till then witness will be strong,
Singing Jesus’ happy song.
Hearing angels, we just sing along,
We all sing our witness song,
We sing good news all day long,
Come and join God’s happy throng
Show the world your faith is strong,
Each day boldly sing this joyous song,
These lyrics capture the essence of this post. Kingdom living involves carrying the message of the King to the world, being a witness of His majesty and the wonderful ways that He is at work in the world and in our lives. The author of these lyrics, Gene Eggleston, also wrote:
With God’s Spirit showing us how,
We’ll sing our bold witness song.
It’s what the world needs now,
…What it’s needed all along.
These words aptly summarize one of the primary missions of the followers of Christ today. It’s not just in song, though, that we “perform” our witness. It is through the whole of our lives, with all of the energy we can muster that we focus on BEING A WITNESSING COMMUNITY…
A Key Passage in regard is 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, “Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, ‘Light up the darkness!’ and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful. If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us.” (MSG)
Three key practices which will help us be the kind of witness community God wants us to be are:
a) Clarity— The king’s messenger doesn’t beat around the bush. Nor does she tone down the message to make it more palatable to the masses. No the king’s messenger is just that: a messenger who delivers with precision and simplicity whatever message the king wishes to communicate.
If ever there was a person who looked at the Apostle Peter incredulously I can just hear him say, “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” (2 Peter 1:16-18, TNIV)
Granted, none of us is able to give such an eye-witness account, but we can with a clarion voice give testimony of our confidence in the account. Indeed, just as we have set apart Christ Jesus as Lord in our hearts (a private matter), we should be ready, willing and able to gently and respectfully give an answer to everyone who asks us a reason for the hope that is in us (a public witness)! (See: 1 Peter 3:15)
b) Consistency— The same God who caused light to shine out of darkness into our hearts through Jesus Christ is the God who said “Let there be light” in the beginning. His light is pure! In fact, the Apostle John tells us that there is no darkness in our God at all! (See: 1 John 1:5) Our God is characteristically consistent. Just like the Creator of the cosmos is consistent, so also are the messengers of the Creator to report this consistency! Actually, we are simply to be a reflection of His light. Now, there are a couple of things that can thwart our efforts to be consistent.
First, a problem often arises when we embellish the story in an effort to improve the story or thinking that this will somehow make the story sound more appealing. Really now, what can we do to improve on the story of how God has worked / is working in the world? Let’s just report the facts!
Second, and this is where this whole idea gets a bit touchy, how can we humans who are characteristically and consistently flawed hope to have a consistent witness for God? Good news! That’s the point! God has chosen to deliver His message to the world in jars of clay. He wants everyone to know that the vessel is not the focus. In fact, the flaws make the message that much more dazzling. Just look at what God is able to do! This is not because of us, but in spite of us! Can those who are painfully aware of their brokenness find hope in the message of God? Yes! God is able to use people who are similarly flawed to deliver His message. We must not pretend otherwise! We must consistently acknowledge our humanness so that others can see that it really is possible for the unfolding story of God’s grace to enfold them as well!
c) Humility— Well, humility is obviously necessary if we are going to live in a manner consistent with the message of grace. Earthen vessels really don’t have much to boast about, do they?
But, there is a bit more to this. I’m reminded of the very old story of the farmer who went out to plow his field with a horse-drawn plow. After making several passes across his field he noticed his six-year-old son standing at the edge of the field. The boy had been pleading with his father for the opportunity to go plow with him. Knowing that it would be exhausting for the child and might even tax him beyond his limits the father had not yet yielded to his pleas. But, on this day he finally consented.
The son fell in behind the plow. He held on for all he was worth to the cross bar that provided strength for the handles that overarched his head. With these handles his father masterfully guided the plow, while commanding the massive Irish draught horse that was pulling the plow.
The lad was underfoot and very much in the way. His father worked much harder with him helping than he would have worked otherwise. But, while his young son continued to hold on for dear life he would frequently look up at his father with a warm smile that prevented this exhausted father from sending his son packing back to the house and his mother.
Early in the day—much earlier than usual—the farmer and his son returned to their home for their mid-day meal. When they stepped on to the wooden porch the boy rushed ahead and threw open the door and ran into the house exclaiming, “Momma! Momma! I plowed today! Father helped, too!”
Every single one of us needs to start every day with a prayer of thanksgiving that runs something like this: Dear Lord, though I’ll be in your way and make things much more difficult than they really ought to be, would you please let me plow with You today? Please give me the strength to hold on and please help me to humbly give you all the credit for any good that we are able to do “together” today.
Well, there’s more that could be said about this, but I’m reasonably certain we all get the point. As much as we are all in need of grace, we would do well to remember that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. May we all humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God!
So, there you have it—a few thoughts about the second “W” in this series on being a W-3 Community. Our lives should be WITNESS to God’s glory and God’s great work in our midst! Our words need to be a testimony of the fullness of God’s grace reigning in our hearts. Our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts should reflect a desire to clearly, consistently and humbly magnify God with the whole of our lives. With God’s Spirit showing us how, we’ll sing our bold witness song. It’s what the world needs now. What it’s needed all along!