3 Practical ways to increase the effectiveness of your witness as a Christian

Christian witnessMy reputation as a Christian is vital!  It either advances the cause of Christ or hinders it.  It’s often referred to as a Christian’s “testimony” and it includes not only their verbal witness, but also the integrity of their lifestyle!  How I live my life must match the witness I share.  Consistency and congruence in these two areas increases my influence with my community, colleagues, and close friends!

Apostle Paul emphasized the importance of this.  He urged the believers in Philippi, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world!” (Philippians 2:14-15)

Jesus put it another way, He told his followers, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

I want my testimony – my reputation – as a Christian to be congruent and consistent!  During my time of “coffee with the Lord” today I came across several verses in Proverbs that highlight three practical ways I can enhance my testimony (they’re found in Proverbs 14:29-31)…

  1.  Don’t be a “hothead” – ask God to help you control your temper!

“Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” (check out James 1:20)

  1. Be content – don’t be envious of what others have.

“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” (check out 1 Timothy 6:6-8 and Philippians 4:11-13)

  1. Be kind and generous to those in need.

“Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors Him.” (check out 1 Timothy 6:17-19 and 1 John 3:17-18)

Three practical ways to enhance our “testimony” or witness as Christians!  I want to live this way, don’t you?

 

 

Your salvation was costly… Don’t neglect it!

Smoke from the tailpipeA few weeks ago I was traveling down the freeway toward Dallas and encountered an incredible sight… A late model Mercedes (couldn’t have been more than a couple years old) clearly in bad shape. The car was being driven by a young lady and it was smoking out the tail pipe badly. In fact, she was having difficulty getting any momentum and acceleration from the vehicle. That’s right, a Mercedes! Now a Mercedes is a very nice car! I thought to myself, someone has seriously neglected caring for that vehicle – they have not changed the oil, paid attention to warning lights, or taken it in for regular checkups and service! It’s tragic to spend a lot of money on a vehicle like that and then neglect it! Given the state of affairs, that young lady was headed for trouble and that vehicle was headed for a very big shop expense.

Neglect! … That was the topic of my Bible reading this morning – not the neglect of a vehicle, but the neglect of a person’s salvation! Here’s what the Message paraphrase of Scripture says…

“It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off. If the old message delivered by the angels was valid and nobody got away with anything, do you think we can risk NEGLECTING this latest message, this magnificent salvation? First of all, it was delivered in person by the Master, then accurately passed on to us by those who heard it from him. All the while God was validating it with gifts through the Holy Spirit, all sorts of signs and miracles, as he saw fit.” (Hebrews 2:1-4 The Message)

Salvation cost a great deal! Jesus paid the price for our salvation with the sacrifice of His life – His death on the cross for our sins! He purchased forgiveness, righteousness and eternal life for us! What we’ve been given as a free gift is incredibly valuable! Apostle Paul exclaimed, “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15) We dare not NEGLECT what we’ve been given! If we do, we do it at great personal loss!

A periodic leadership lesson… Don’t depend on threats, instead be “steel under velvet”

Dissatisfied annoyed boss arguing with employeeA periodic leadership lesson…

Some seek to lead with a strong hand, harsh words and threats in order to get what they want done. That approach, over time, is not only increasingly ineffective, it requires more and more harsh words and threats. Furthermore, in is an approach that is contrary to godly values!

Apostle Paul addressed Christians “masters” in Ephesians 6:9 and gave this advice to them as leaders: “stop your threatening, knowing that He who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him!”

So when Apostle Paul appealed to Philemon for mercy on behalf of the runaway slave, Onesimus, this was his approach…
“Though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you… in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord… Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ! Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.” (From Philemon 8-22)

No threats… No strident words… instead, an approach that I have called “steel under velvet!” Hey, it’s much more effective and Christlike! Leaders would be much more effective if they would “lower their voice” when giving directives to their subordinates! In those instances, “style is just as important as substance” … and for Christian leaders, it is more godly and reflects better their Christian values!

Lord, help me always to behave like a Christian when I lead others!

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