“A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.” (Prov. 14:25)
When we find ourselves trying to convince lost people that they need what we’ve got, because they would never ask us what we have on their own, something is wrong. Like you, I’ve heard in-your-face kind of witnessing coming from individuals whose lives would never spark any spiritual interest otherwise. By no means am I touting what some have called “life-style evangelism” as being all that is necessary in carrying out the Great Commission. Still, evangelism without a corresponding “life-style” would seem to be a good example of salt that has lost its savor (Matt.5:13,) and, as a consequence, ends up being “good for nothing.”
We read in Acts 4:13, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” People could have assumed that because Peter and John were obviously common laborers, and not learned scholars, they were, therefore unworthy of their attention. But the obvious fact that they spoke from first-hand knowledge of Jesus made it impossible to ignore them. Their authenticity demanded an audience. When you have spent time with God, and in His Word, it shows—not in pious platitudes, but in conscious and unconscious witness. It’s knowledge that works itself out in daily living.
Probably one of the highest compliments I have ever given my husband is that he has a “working knowledge of God.” He never refers to Him in the abstract. He witnesses for the Lord with the same familiarity as when he talks about his family. In one day, at a hotel where we were staying, I watched him witness to a ninety-year-old woman and an atheist attending a conference on world religions. The latter, who, of course, didn’t believe in God, nevertheless, willingly accepted a tract and a “God bless you” from my husband, and then replied, “And God bless you!”
None of us is perfect; and because of that, are always capable of sin and failings. But there should be a difference between the world and us — not necessarily in the way we look, but more importantly, in the way we live. Prayer should be as natural as breathing; praise should be a normal part of our conversation; integrity should be the mark of our dealings with others; and love (especially for fellow believers) should be a reality, not a rule. In short, our witness should ring true. Our walk and our talk should not be sending mixed signals.
A real true witness has first-hand knowledge, not just hearsay.