The Christmas season is already upon us. Holiday cards line the shelves. Trees and decorations are on display in many stores. Ads for deals bombard us by mail, the media, and online. Recipes and coupons remind us to grab our favorite foods before they are all gone. Plans are being finalized, discussed, and hashed out as scores of people weigh their options with regards to whom they will visit, invite over, or tolerate for gathering time and festivities. More than any other time of the year, spending becomes a hot topic as individuals and families rationalize, justify, and/or debate whether or not to spend and how much. Clearly, the world system has developed a well-rounded marketing plan to remind the masses just how important this season is. In the midst of all this activity that will lead a number astray into a frenzy of overindulgence and self-gratification, others will be more profoundly reminded, brought face to face with, or quickly catapulted into feelings of desolation, inadequacy, loneliness, grief, and despair. In response to all of this, kingdom minded individuals can clearly demonstrate to the world just how important Christ is to this season.
Believers understand the seriousness of being lost in a lost world. We are familiar with the trappings of the systems around us as well as the struggles that originate within our own flesh. This life experience comes alongside of the firsthand experiential knowledge of Christ’s work on the cross and resurrection as it relates to Christ’s work for us and in us. There is no way for us to comprehensively break down and expound on every doctrine and theological question to the complete satisfaction of those who are lost and perishing (John 5:40; Romans 8:7; 1 Corinthians 2:14). Our duty is to be a living testimony to the endless mercy and grace that has been bestowed upon us by the living Savior.
Best of all, we do not have to rely on ourselves to do it. Christ has given us power through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). God―in His sovereignty―prepares us and places us exactly where He wants us to be in order to carry out His plan for reaching the elect (Psalm 119:71; Genesis 50:20). As ambassadors of the good news, salt of the earth, and light in the midst of darkness, our lives witness to the truth of Christ as the only means of salvation in a desperately dark and wicked world. Being a witness not only denotes a state of being, it is also a call for action or a state of doing.
This holiday season will provide plenty of opportunities to be a witness while you are out and about, at home, or in the workplace. Friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, and strangers (considered our neighbors too) tend to gather more frequently and spend greater periods of time with one another during these times. Along with their shopping lists, appetites, and stories, they bring their attitudes, misconceptions, beliefs, hang-ups, disappointments, and struggles. We can be a witness to all of them first by dealing honestly and rightly with our own sin. This will allow us to meet others where they are in a more appropriate manner without presenting ourselves as judgmental or legalistic. Although some regularly may be outright hostile to the message of the cross, they are more inclined to listen or engage in conversation with the messenger if they can readily see a genuine heart of conviction which is authentically concerned about their well-being. As the saying goes, “Real recognizes real.” People want to be able to connect with someone who understands their struggle without playing games.
Overused clichés, stale prayers, and canned responses only incite people to strengthen their guard, and move towards violence (outbursts, sarcasm, verbal assaults, etc.) or silence as a means to save face or defend themselves. Know that people are watching how you speak and―even more closely―what you do. From that moment forward, they are creating personal stories and formulating opinions about you. For those who are dealing with physical pain and/or mental anguish, be consciously empathetic with regards to their need, and share the truth about Jesus Christ. If your assistance is requested, offer to seek out or share appropriate resources. The reality is that you do not have all of the answers; only He does. His way is perfect. Your assignment is to introduce them to Him through your actions and speech.
- During this Christmas season, is there someone in particular―or a type of person―that you find difficult to be around that you are sure to encounter? How can you be intentional about being a witness to that person?
- Do you know someone who is hurting (depressed, alone, etc.) or struggling with a vice or some other sin which is hindering their life and affecting others? Pray that the opportunity presents itself to pour into this person. What are some points that you would like to get across? If met with resistance, what might you say?