“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1:8 (NIV)
Usually we combine Acts 1:8 with the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19-20) to get a more complete picture of what Jesus has sent us to do. Where Matthew tells us to go into all the world, Luke in Acts gives us some specifics of how that plays out. “Jerusalem” refers to our communities. “Judea” represents our broader culture, state or country. “Samaria” could relate to neighboring cultures, like ours but different or it could mean people we really don’t like since the Jews hated the Samaritans. “The ends of the earth” includes everyone else.
That is all well and good, but what does it mean to be a witness? In the Great Commission in Matthew, Jesus commands us to preach the gospel and in Acts he adds that we are to be witnesses. Sharing the gospel, the good news that Jesus has freed us from the power of sin and death, is clear but being witnesses goes a bit deeper.
What have we witnessed?
We can witness to what God is doing in our lives. We can be witnesses of what God has done and is doing in other people’s lives. So, what are you witnessing right now?
For most of us, that is a hard question. We can look through our life history and pull out a couple times when God really met us and where we saw him act on our behalf, but it would most likely pale in comparison to the Bible stories we read. We are sadly unaware of God’s activity around us day to day.
Here are some suggestions for being a better witness of God’s work in and around you:
- Slow down! We live our lives too fast to often notice what is happening around us. We rarely have time for taking in what God is doing.
- Let Go! Most of us have so much on our plate that making space for God to work is just not possible. Sometime God breaks through, but those situations are often not pleasant.
- Listen! Get quiet and listen to God speaking to you. Get out of your own head and take the time to engage with what others are saying about what God is doing in their lives.
- Record! As God reveals his activity in and through you, write it down. So often we marvel at his love for us one day and have forgotten it the next.
- Share! As we share what God is doing for us and around us two things happen. Those things are more deeply engrained in our minds and we are being witnesses to his work.
As we set these things in motion in our lives we will begin to build a story to share with others that will both inform them of what God has done and is doing for us and draw them to a place of considering a personal relationship with him.
Be an effective witness. Share that good news with someone today.
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