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“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.” Luke 6:43 (NIV)
“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit.” Colossians 1:10 (NLT)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23a (ESV)
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST made it abundantly clear that He expects those of us who believe in Him to witness about His life and mission (Matt. 4:19; Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 9:1-6; Luke 10:1-23: Acts 1:8).
We are to share the Good News.
One problem: How many of us feel comfortable talking about our faith? How many of us feel we can do it well?
An advertisement for a “witnessing tutorial” recently asked whether our efforts fail because we’re:
- spouting Bible verses, or
- judgmental and scolding.
WHEN JESUS SAYS, “You will know them by their fruits. … A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:16a, 18a NKJV), we might assume there is an objective standard by which God will measure us … and, yes, we no doubt imagine His divine magic marker writing a big “F” in a bright color next to our name.
It doesn’t need to be that way.
Part of our witness is the way we comport ourselves without talking — you know, whether we show patience when others are fuming, or whether we extend grace and forgiveness when others vow to get even.
So, first, are we “living out” the Gospel in our daily lives? Staying in prayer as the apostle Paul teaches us (1 Thess. 5:17) is a key to showing the fruit of the Spirit. Without such prayer, we’ll revert to our sinful nature, and that will destroy our witness, regardless of how many Bible verses we spout.
SECOND, WE STILL NEED TO TALK about our faith, and we need to do it in a way that encourages others to want to know more about Jesus, not push us away.
How do we do that, especially if we do not feel “gifted” to speak eloquently?
Same as living out our witness — stay “prayed in.”
Ask God for His guidance, and then speak your truth. Speak from the heart. Tell someone how Jesus has made a difference in your life. One or two sentences to describe the “old you,” a transition to say you came to see Jesus Christ as God and the Savior of mankind, and a quick word or two about how you see the change in your life.
Here’s an example:
“Joe, I’m glad you asked me. I wasn’t always this “patient,” as you put it. I used to be an angry man, like there was a storm cloud above my head all day long. I would growl and bite anyone who crossed me.
“You know, I came to realize my marriage was failing, and my kids wouldn’t talk to me, and we were losing business at work. I took stock of my life, and one of my neighbors suggested I go to Bible study with him. For some reason, I said ‘okay,’ and something just took.
“Eventually, I accepted Jesus in my heart and asked Him to cure me of my bad temper. Well, He went to work on me, and here I am. I’ve got a long way to go before I’m where Jesus is, but He and I are making progress.”
NOTHING POLISHED. Nothing professional. No fancy words or Bible verse memory tests, just a heartfelt confession that becomes a strong personal testimony.
Oh, you wonder where the right words will come from?
How’s this for a Godly promise: “For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” Luke 21:15 (NIV).
That promise came from Jesus, Himself. Yes, He said it in the context of His followers being persecuted, but He added, “This will result in your being witnesses to them.” Luke 21:13 (NIV)
You see, when Jesus call us to act for Him or to speak for Him, He promises to help us through the process.
How’s this for a promise? It’s from Matthew 28, verse 20b (NLT): “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
You can count on it.
PRAYER: Our Heavenly Father, please help us live lives that show the Fruit of the Spirit and not the evil side of us that is worldly. Then, when people see how we live and ask us about the joy in our hearts, would You help us tell them simply and lovingly how Jesus has transformed us. All the praise, honor, and glory are yours, Father God, and we are grateful recipients of Your saving grace. In Jesus name we raise this prayer. Amen
1. How comfortable do you feel witnessing for Jesus in your everyday life? Do you accept the Lord’s command that we are to show His love, grace, and mercy to others and, when the occasion arises, share a word about our faith experience — or do you think “religion” is a private matter?
2. Even when you sense the Holy Spirit’s prodding, do you feel uncertain of what you would say, even though you have the Lord’s promise that He will help you? Would you feel more comfortable leading your friend or family member to a pastor or other “skilled” Christian, even though your testimony is likely far more effective in reaching someone close to you?
3. Do you believe your Christian faith and your walk with Christ are producing any “fruit”? Do those who know you — family, friends, neighbors, co-workers — know you are a born-again Christian? Do they think you’re just a “nice person”? What could you do to make them aware of your faith commitment?
4. Can we at LoveAndGrace pray for you? Just send a prayer request via the Comments section.