The Complete Witness

Like Patrick, it's words and deeds.

For he will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven,
who fulfills in good deeds what he teaches in holy words;
who by his good example goes forth as a model to the faithful,
and guards faith in God in his pure heart.

  - Domnach Sechnaill, Audite Omnes Amantes, Irish, 5th century[1]

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if
there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

  - Psalm 139.23, 24

Sechnaill was reflecting on Patrick in this passage, who certainly embodied in character and practice what we might call the complete witness.

Patrick was constantly open to the searching of God’s Spirit, that he might not allow any sin to find safe harbor in his soul. He sought to win the lost of Ireland by selfless deeds of service and edification, as well as by uncompromised preaching of the Word of God. God blessed his faithful ministry with thousands of converts, and the beginnings of a revival that lasted nearly four centuries.

We are called to be witnesses for Christ as well (Acts 1.8), and whether we know it or not, we are indeed bearing witness to Him every day. We may not be sent to rough-and-tumble places like Patrick, but each of us has a Personal Mission Field where we are called to sow the seed of the Kingdom in good works and true words.

The question is not whether or not to be a witness for Christ; the question is what kind of witness will we be, whether our witness will be complete – garbed in deeds of selfless love and carried on words of gentleness, respect, and truth.

Neither of these is complete without the other. If we do not serve others with love, we will be hard-pressed to convince them that our Savior brings the love of God to them by His grace. If we love and serve them well, but never speak to them about Jesus, we leave them thinking only that we’re decent people.

A complete witness is a witness like Patrick, who lives in self-denying love and speaks with clarity and conviction about the reality of Jesus risen from the dead.

Only the Holy Spirit can make us complete witnesses. He alone has the power to bring forth the fruit of love and words of truth in us. If we do not rest in the Spirit, are not filled with the Spirit, and do not walk in the Spirit, we will fail in our witness, both in our words and our works.

Perhaps if we were more open to the searching work of the Holy Spirit, we might discover ways of being more complete in our witness for Christ. We open to the Spirit in the silence of waiting prayer, as we allow His Word to course through our souls, lighting up any darkness and illuminating the way into truth and love.

Being open to the Spirit means He will more likely fill us, and fit us for our calling as witnesses to Jesus.

That’s not to say that all the lost people we see each week are going to come to faith in Christ. That’s not the goal; rather, our desire must be simply that they have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and to experience its effects in a life rightly lived.

How complete is your witness at this time? Are you raising the matter of heaven and eternal life consistently and effectively? And do people see in your life the character and hope that indicates you are living in another realm, by a power not your own?

Let this be the day you take up the project of becoming a more complete witness for Christ, for this surely is the way everlasting. Seek the Spirit in the Word and prayer; plead with God to fill you with Him for this day; then walk in the Spirit, rather than in your own strength, and follow as He leads and as He prompts you to speak for Jesus.

For Reflection
1. Would Sechnall say that yours was a complete witness at this time? Explain.

2. What opportunities for living and telling your witness are before you today?

Psalm 51.10-13 (Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Create in me a clean heart, renew me from within!
Take not Your Spirit from me because of all my sin.
Salvation’s joy restore, Lord, and keep me in Your hand;
Thus shall I tell Your strong Word to sinners in the land.

Lord Jesus, search, fill, lead, and empower me by Your Spirit, and help me today to…

Personal Mission Field Workshop
Have you discovered the Personal Mission Field Workshop yet? Each week we offer practical advice on being a more complete witness. Click here to see the first eleven workshops.

Don’t miss this opportunity to order copies of A Mighty Fortress for your Christmas gifts. For the next two weeks, we’re offering this book-length exposition of Luther’s hymn at a greatly reduced price. Use this book to get the word out about Christ and His Kingdom!

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T. M. Moore
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1] Carey, p. 155.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore