A Joyful W’tness
I’m purposely rebelling against spellcheck. Most witnessing mistakes stem from the “I” getting in the way. Take it out and it can completely transform your witness.
Here are some examples:
If I’m concerned more about a person’s relationship with me rather than their relationship with Jesus, I’ll be reluctant to ever start the conversation.
If I begin talking about what I think they need to hear, I won’t take the time to listen to where they’re at and better understand what they really need to hear.
If I’m more concerned with proving what I believe is true rather than realizing those without Jesus are lost, I’m more likely to debate rather than witness.
Many well-intentioned Christians get tripped up on the “I” in witness. At best it leads to short-lived satisfaction.
John the Baptist understood this. He pointed to Jesus, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). It was a simple and clear witness.
Sometime later John’s followers came to him with a concern. Jesus was baptizing people and was gaining a following. “Everyone is going to him” (John 3:26). John used this opportunity to teach them an important lesson on witnessing.
It’s common at weddings to have speeches by the best man and maid of honor. I’ve heard some inspirational examples. They typically look back to when the couple first met, reflect on how their relationship grew and celebrate the couple on their special day.
I’ve also experienced some cringeworthy speeches that were painful to endure. The speaker tried to steal the spotlight and mourned how the wedding would infringe further on the relationship with their friend. The “I” got in the way.
Just as weddings put the focus on the bride and bridegroom, witnessing puts the focus on a lost soul and Jesus. I may be the friend who first introduced them. I may be the sibling who encouraged them along the way. I may even be the father who walked the bride down the aisle. Yet whatever the role, my joy is complete when I step into the background and kept the focus is on them.
That’s why John the Baptist responded: “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). He is encouraging us to take the “I” out of witnessing.
Revisit the previous examples:
Now I’m going to point to Jesus (even with that close family member or friend), because I’m more concerned about their relationship with Jesus than with me.
Now I’m going to listen carefully to their struggles and then point to Jesus as the one who can fill that need like no one else.
Now I look at every soul through the compassionate lens of Jesus’ love for the lost which fuels my witness.
In each case, removing the “I” transforms your witness. It also changes your entire approach witnessing. Previously, the focus on “I” might make you second guess yourself and how you could have done things differently. When your focus is instead on God and his power, you will look back with joy trusting that God’s Word does not return to him empty.