12/28/14

Wonder and Our Witness

You'd think that wonder of God's greatness would naturally lead to a strong testimony in the world. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Say the word "witnessing" to most Christians and you'll either get (1) a guilty expression, (2) a list of why he or she doesn't share the Gospel, or (3) a negative reaction like, "It's just too hard!"

Certainly, knowing how to share the scripture truth about why Jesus came is important, but I believe there's something more central—more motivating to our testimony—than a list of scriptures and witnessing techniques. Too many of us get hung up there.

John Piper's book, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions,* changed how I view evangelism.  

Though Piper mentioned missionaries, his words are for all of us, because we are all sent oneswe are all ambassadors for Christ, ministers of reconciliation (John 20:21; 2 Corinthians 5:18, 20).

Piper said, "What message would missionaries rather take than the message:

Be glad in God! Rejoice in God! Sing for joy in God! 
For God is more glorified in you when you are 
most satisfied in him! 
God loves to exalt himself by showing mercy to sinners. ... 
God's glory is most reflected in us when we are most delighted in him."

Focusing on the glory of God was a new thought for me as I considered sharing with my neighbors. I believed God would open opportunities to share the Good News of the death and resurrection of Christ; but I shared the Gospel with a new attitude: an attitude of wonder and delight in God.


"Winning souls" wasn't up to me; that was God's work. My responsibility was to faithfully share the truth of salvation, but to do so with the desire to praise and glorify the Father.

"The ultimate goal of God in all of history," Piper said, "is to uphold and display his glory for the enjoyment of the redeemed from every tribe and tongue and people and nation."

Is evangelism a duty? It's so much more!
The duty of evangelism fades away as delight in God and His work increases in our heart. 
"Delight is a higher tribute than duty," Piper said. "The chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy his glory for ever. ... The greatest news in all the world is that God's ultimate aim to be glorified and man's aim to be satisfied are not at odds."

This is the message the world is missing from sour-faced, duty-driven Christians. 

When believers are captivated by the wonder of God's glory and the desire to magnify His name throughout the earth, the Spirit of  God can use our joy to trigger questions and draw people to the Lord. They will ask for the joyful "hope" they see displayed in us (1 Peter 3:15).

Read through Ephesians 1:3-14 and you'll be struck by a phrase that occurs three times. Paul says God is doing all his saving work "to the praise of his glory" (vv. 6, 14). We are destined in love to be God's children through Jesus and to praise Him and live for His glory alone (vv. 11-12). 

And it's not just for His grace. We are to glorify God for His mercy (Romans 15:9). God exalts himself, Isaiah says, "to show mercy" (30:18).

Do you see it? What might have once been drudgery in witness becomes delight and great joy! We proclaim the wondrous mercy and grace of our wondrous God!

Do you struggle with witnessing? Do you see how a fresh view of the wonder of God and appreciation for His grace and mercy can encourage you to live for "the praise of His glory"?

* John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions 
(Baker Books, 1993), pp. 33, 219, 30-31.
Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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