The Confident Witness (6)
Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you…2 Timothy 1.6
Room to grow
We can imagine that the apostle Paul was always trying to grow and improve in his walk with the Lord.
He said that he “pressed on” in the Lord, “ran his race” and “fought the good fight” throughout the course of his life. He urged those who worked with him to keep on improving their skills, just as they’d seen him do (cf. Phil. 4.9; 2 Tim. 2.2).
In the life of faith there’s always room to grow. There are new things to learn, new fruit to bear, and new levels of development to bring to our skills and gifts. If we can continue to increase in the Lord, we can expect that we will become more confident as His witnesses.
But what does this involve?
We can think of this two ways. First, we should all strive to grow spiritually, that is, to become more like Jesus Christ every day. Paul said the Christian life is a continuous struggle to lay aside our old ways of being in the world and to “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ, so that He increases in and through us (Eph. 4.17-24; 2 Cor. 3.12-18).
For example, we have the mindof Christ (1 Cor. 2.16). We should be concerned to improve our ability to know what Jesus knows and to think like Jesus.
We have the heartof God’s Spirit, renewing us from within (Ezek. 36.26, 27). He is able to do more in helping us to love the Lord and our neighbors than we’ve ever dared to ask or think (Eph. 3.20); so here’s another area where we can grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.
God has renewed our consciencesin Jesus Christ, so that by reflecting deeply on His Law, and all His Word, we might be ready to do every good work for which He has saved us (Rom. 2.14, 15; Heb. 9.14; Eph. 2.10; 2 Tim. 3.15-17).
As we grow into Christ-likeness in our souls, we should expect to see more of the virtues of Christ coming to expression in our words and deeds (cf. Rom. 6; 1 Cor. 13). We’ll want to keep a close watch on our lives, so that we can identify areas where improvement is needed, and work to take the steps that will be necessary to overcome any lingering presence of evil with the good works of Christ (Eph. 5.15-17; Rom. 12.21). The goal is that our lives should become a living sacrifice to God, holy and acceptable to Him in all our ways (Rom. 12.1, 2).
Many Christians are reluctant to bear witness to the Lord because they know their own lives don’t “measure up,” and they’re afraid of being called on the carpet for their hypocrisy. Well, if we’re growing consistently and improving in the character and virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ, we won’t have to worry about that, and we’ll have more confidence in bearing witness to the Lord.
Developing your gifts
In addition to paying attention to personal growth in the Lord, we’ll also want to stir up and fan into flame whatever gifts the Lord has given us. Every believer in Jesus Christ is indwelled by the Spirit, has access to the Word of God, and possesses spiritual gifs for serving others (1 Cor. 12.7-11). The Spirit is at work within us, making us willing and able to do what pleases God (Phil. 2.13), bringing forth fruit consistent with His holy character (Gal. 5.22, 23), and nurturing gifts to use in touching others with the grace and truth of the Lord (Rom. 12.3-8).
The writer of Hebrews tells us that we can expect to grow as we learn and put to usethe gifts God has given us (Heb. 5.14). Here is a call for living intentionally. As we keep focused on our Personal Mission Fields, and the people to whom God has sent us, it will be clear what gifts we’ll need in order to fulfill our callings. For example, we’ll need the gift of giving – especially of our time and attention. Can we improve this by “practicing” self-denial and nurturing interest in others? We’ll need the gift of conversation, which includes listening well, asking good questions, responding with affirmation, and so forth. We can also learn more about this, and by practicing when we’re with our Christian friends, we’ll be better prepared for conversations with those who do not know the Lord.
And we’ll probably need to work at sharing the Gospel itself. Do we know the Gospel? Does sharing the Gospel come easily for us? Are we ready to answer the questions or respond to the objections people might pose? Here are additional areas of learning and growth where we can stir up the gifts God gives us in order to fulfill the calling He has appointed to us.
The Christian life is an adventure in continuous growth, and that for every member of the Christian family, no matter how old or young, how inexperienced or mature. We should all be pressing on in Christ to grow in Him and in our callings as His ambassadors and witnesses. The more consistent we are in seeking to grow in the Lord, and the more we grow and learn, the more our love for the Lord and our neighbors will increase, and we will be more confident in living as His witnesses before the people in our Personal Mission Field.
1. As you think about your Personal Mission Field, what skills will you need to begin working it more confidently and consistently?
2. Jesus and the Apostles proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom. As you understand it, what is the Gospel of the Kingdom?In this comparison he takes in two points that he had touched upon―that he had sought neither glory nor gain among the Thessalonians. For a mother in nursing her infant shews nothing of power or dignity. Paul says that he was such, inasmuch as he voluntarily refrained from claiming the honor that was due to him, and with calmness and modesty stooped to every kind of office.
3. Summarize your own experience of this Good News. That is, how has the Gospel affected your life? Why would it be important to be able to explain this to someone?
Next steps – Transformation: Where would you like to see more growth in the Lord? Talk with a Christian friend about this question, and ask your friend to help you get on a more consistent path of growth in the Lord and in your calling.
T. M. Moore
“The Confident Witness” is one of six studies that make up the core of our online course, Mission Partners. Preview this course at The Ailbe Seminary by clicking here. Mission Partners is one of the courses in our Certificate for Kingdom Leadership curriculum, which will open for registration on January 1, 2019. For an introduction and overview of that curriculum, click here.
How confident are you in your ability to share the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom? Our book, The Gospel of the Kingdom, can help you get your witness and testimony in proper working order, so that you can be a confident witness in your own Personal Mission Field. Order your copy by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Hone Your Skills
- T.M. Moore
- December 26, 2018
We must prepare well for our calling as witnesses.
The Confident Witness (6)
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.