David L. Goetsch
Overcoming Your Fear of Witnessing for Christ
As Christians, we are all called to witness for Christ, but what exactly does that mean? Does it mean we are required to approach people at work, in our neighborhood or in the public square and tell them what Christ has done in our lives? Does it mean we are required to hand out tracts? Does it mean we are to approach strangers and ask if we can pray for them? It can mean doing these things. After all, letting others know what Christ has done for you and can do for them is witnessing.
Some Christians are so full of the love of Christ that witnessing comes easily. They are exuberant, out-going types who cannot wait to share God’s Word with anyone who will listen. But some Christians are introverted, shy, and fearful of opening up to others on deeply personal subjects. For these Christians, the thought of approaching strangers and baring one’s soul about something so deeply personal strikes fear in their hearts.
If witnessing for Christ is difficult for you, I recommend an approach that is effective, Scripturally-sound, and will not induce fear. It is based on a maxim you might have seen: Witness for Christ at all ties and use words if you have to. Using this approach, you can overcome any fear you have of witnessing for Christ.
Most Christians want to heed the admonition in 1 Corinthians 11:1 where Christ tells us to be imitators of him. This can be a difficult challenge when doing so subjects you to pressure, rejection, and even threats, but don’t despair. Whether in school, on the job, or in any other environment, you can be a faithful witness for Christ. The key to doing so is found in Christ’s own words where he tells us in 1 Corinthians 11 to be imitators of him.
Imitating Christ means setting a Christ-like example in all we do. You do not have to hand out tracts or verbally evangelize to spread the Gospel. In fact, in some settings these approaches are not appropriate. But don’t despair. There is an approach to witnessing for Christ that is not just appropriate in any setting, it is also effective. No matter what setting you find yourself in, you can show others the face of Christ by how you do your work, treat other people, make decisions, respond to challenges, and behave in emergencies. In other words, set a Christ-like example for the people you interact with. Consistently setting a Christ-like example in all aspects of your life may be the most effective form of witnessing there is.
For believers, appropriate responses to anti-Christian pressure, rejection, and even persecution are those that exemplify the teachings of Scripture. They are responses that personify what is written in Titus 2:7. In this verse we are told to show ourselves to be models of “good works.” This verse also admonishes us to demonstrate “integrity” and “dignity” in our teaching. Remember that you teach best by example. You can set a Christ-like example in even the most hostile territory because doing so means being honest, loving, caring, dependable, conscientious, and industrious. Even the most hardened rejecters of Christ appreciate interacting with people who personify these Christ-like traits.
Don’t get me wrong. I fully understand how difficult it can be to respond to temptation, rejection, and pressure in ways that are consistent with the teaching of Christ. Secular humanism, moral relativism, and political correctness, permeate all aspects of American society generating ever-increasing levels of anti-Christian bias. Swimming upstream against the current of anti-Christian bias is not easy. I don’t want to understate this fact. This is why I tell my counseling clients who are struggling with this issue to remember Christ’s instructions to his Apostles before sending them out to spread the Gospel. In Matthew 10:16 Christ told the Apostles they were going to be like sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, they would have to be both wise and innocent. This is good advice for you too.
A friend from my church exemplifies this approach of witnessing by example. Any time someone is sick, without asking my friend springs into action to take care of them. He prepares meals, runs errands, shops for them, and even mows their lawns. He shows them the face of Christ during their time of need. By doing so, he makes a deep and lasting impression on people who need to know God loves them.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press and Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith, Salem Books, an imprint of Regnery Publishing, 2019: www.david-goetsch.com