Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
- Psalm 139.23, 24
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.
- Sechnall, Audite Omnes Amantes, Irish, 5th century
Sechnall is reflecting on the life and example of Patrick in this passage. He certainly embodied in character and practice what we might call the complete witness.
Patrick was constantly open to the searching of God’s Spirit. He would not allow any sin to find safe harbor in his soul, and he strove continuously to focus his mind, heart, and conscience on the Lord and His calling. Patrick labored to win the lost souls of Ireland by selfless deeds of service and edification as well as by uncompromised preaching of the Word of God. Within and without, Patrick was as complete a witness as we might ever know.
Like Patrick, we are called to be witnesses for Christ (Acts 1.8), and we have received God’s Spirit to prepare and empower us for this work. Whether we know it or not, we are indeed bearing witness to Him every day. So the question is not whether or not to be a witness for Christ; we’re already that. The question is whether our witness will be complete – from a sound mind, a good heart, and a clean conscience, garbed in deeds of selfless love, and carried on words of gentleness, respect, and truth.
How complete is your witness for Christ at this time?
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. Could we memorize Psalm 139.23, 24, for example, and take time several times a day to push back from our normal activities and meditate through these two verses, listening for the work of the Spirit of God as He strives to bring us to greater completion in Christ?
Could we take more seriously our having been sent like Jesus to a particular people, place, and time in which to be witnesses for the Lord (Jn. 20.21)?
If we waited more on the Spirit to sanctify us within, and focused more consistently on the Personal Mission Field to which we have been sent, we would certainly be readier for each opportunity the Lord provides for being a witness for Christ by word and deed.
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 see its effects in a life rightly lived.
How complete is your witness at this time? Is the Spirit sanctifying you daily into the image of Christ? Are you making the most of every opportunity to raise the matter of heaven and eternal life (Eph. 5.15-17)? 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 (1 Pet. 3.15)?
Let this be the day you take up the project of becoming a more complete witness for Christ, for this surely is the way of Kingdom greatness and everlasting life.
Psalm 139.23, 24 (Ripley: “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah, O My Soul”)
Search my heart, O Lord, and know me, as You only, Lord, can do.
Test my thoughts and contemplations, whether they be vain or true.
Let there be no sin in me, Lord, nothing that Your Spirit grieves.
Lead me in the righteous way, Lord, unto everlasting peace!
Lord, dare I pray each day: Make me a more complete witness today, O Lord?