Take a moment and reflect on two ways that Christians can bear witness for Christ emphasized by the Apostle Peter in his letter to persecuted believers:
1. Good Works
“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. … It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. …. you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!” (1 Peter 2:12,15; 3:15-17, NLT).
There should be something compelling about the way we live in all our activities.
“Any important work done well is an effective apologetic, especially as integrity in service continues to erode in our society. A Christian plumber who answers calls promptly, fixes problems quickly and thoroughly, and charges a fair price for time and materials makes a powerful impression for good upon every customer. A Christian manager who sets out clear expectations, listens attentively to both complaints and suggestions, and responds with evident thoughtfulness and wisdom elicits respect that strengthens any explicitly Christian testimony he or she might render. Good, skillful service casts threads around others that connect them to us in a relationship of mutual respect within which spiritual conversation might take place”
“Christians contribute as they can — in neighborhood associations, in the workplace, on school boards, in mass media forums, in government — to the public conversation. Such Christians bring the wisdom of the Christian tradition to bear on matters of societal concern, and they do so in such a way that those who do not share Christian presuppositions nonetheless can appreciate and benefit from this wisdom. Education, financial responsibility, marriage and child-rearing, conflict management, ecological stewardship, racial justice, and a host of other generically human concerns all have been discussed by Christians in public language.”
“Beyond the important intrinsic benefits of such “salting” and “lighting” of one’s culture, Christians hereby construct reputable standpoints from which they can share more specifically Christian convictions” (John Stackhouse).
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:14-15).
This is so important! The underlying premise here is an assumed association with non-Christians significant enough that hope has an opportunity to be observed. Christians possess a profound hope, intended to be a radiant hope! We have been given great promises for a permanent, settled attitude of hope — with regard to life, death and the future.
According to Scripture, there is no room for pessimism to rule in the life of the child of God. And of course our settled expectation of hope is completely based on all that has given and will yet give to us in Jesus Christ.
“… with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming” (I Peter 1:13).
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21).
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure” (I John 3:2-3).
The point of importance is that we should be among unbelievers enough that our hope causes them to inquire as to its source. But you can’t do this by hiding in a holy huddle among the Christians! And this would have been a temptation to these believers as they faced increased persecution.
Get the point: Our good works and hope cannot be a source of witness without meaningful intersection of life with unbelievers. These are not c=verbal means of witness but life means that lead to verbal inquiry from unbelievers.
Of course, if we stay in a holy huddle — within the safety of our Christian stockades, how will those outside of the faith get an opportunity to observe the way Christ transforms our lives?
Where do you establish meaningful connection with unbelievers? What is your sphere of influence? How could these truths change your attitude toward the work place?
- Do you view work done well as essential to Christian witness?
- Do you possess a contagious hope based in Christ?
- After answering these questions, ask God how He wants to use you.