Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)
TITLE: The Silently Loud Witness
By Doug Laird
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Human and angels on a daily basis observe the silent testimony of the posture, facial expressions, behavioral mannerisms, and attitudes of those who claim to be Christians.
It is this silently loud testimony that either enhances or diminishes the undeniable testimony of our daily lives, as it attracts or repels those around them to or from God and the things of God.
Until this testimony is genuinely conformed to the likeness of Christ, it will drown out any verbal or iconic attempt we may utilize to promote the Gospel or a point of edifying Scripture.
Unlike salvation, this transformation is not immediate. It is a never-ending, life long process that is in a constant state of either progressing or regressing. To the degree that we choose to be influenced by the fallen nature that remains within us, our testimony will be compromised.
A negative word, a frown instead of a smile, being anxious instead of relaxed, timid instead of confident, judgmental instead of compassionate, approachable instead of repellant, arrogant instead of humble, always talking and never listening, or being religious instead of spiritual are all classic examples of how the silent testimony can effect our usefulness as vessels of God’s grace.
There is nothing so obviously insincere as the mandated “have a nice day” that such persons as cashiers are required to say to each customer while everything else going on tells you that you having a nice day is the furthest concern on their minds.
Ever observe an aggressive driver who has the back of his car plastered with religious bumper stickers? Or hear an ungodly testimony of a worldly celebrity while wearing a cross around the neck that is large enough to trip over?
How often are we so similar things when distracted by the pressure of temporal issues?
Hypocrisy, not immorality, is the primary obstacle to personal evangelism. Mature believers do not have unrealistic expectations of self or others and know that coming across as a “holier than Thou” is what turns off saints and sinners alike.
On the other hand, genuine humility can be the “link” that is needed to establish a point of commonality with those to whom we desire to present the Gospel or an edifying passage of Scripture.
This does not condone the past, present, or future sins of our own or others, but reminding ourselves and sharing with others the fact that Christians are no more than sinners saved by grace can go a long way in making our verbal testimony heard over and above the volume of flawed sin nature within us that inevitably manifests itself from time to time.
Paul, nearly thirty years after his salvation and towards the end of his earthly ministry spoke of the presence and negative impact of the sin nature within him in his letter to the Romans.
We must frequently “examine yourselves (2Cor. 13: 5 NIV)” in order to mute the silently loud voice of the fallen nature so that others can hear the voice of our ambassadorship (2Cor. 5: 20) while we remain here in the devil’s world.
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