“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (NLT)
Someone once likened our Christian witness to a song. A song comprises both words and music, and if one is missing the song ceases to exist. Perhaps we can see our own witness to Jesus in these terms.
Too often we think of witnessing as verbal proclamation or explanation. Jesus seems to start at a different place. He wants us to so live positively different lives that others will be magnetically drawn to the character and reality of God. We can call this the ‘music’ of our witness. Our good deeds provide a helpful and even necessary context for our words.
If our witness comprises purely words proclaimed at some emotional and physical distance from our hearers we risk being ignored, or risk being badly misunderstood. Unwise words spoken by Christians can do great damage. They can be spoken out of fearful insecurity or an attempt to impress our religious peer group.
Words are part of our witness: Jesus doesn’t want us just to be known as jolly decent people. He wants the glory to go to God and words will then play their part. But unless we are seen as ‘jolly decent’ people, our words will fail. Our words always need to be set to music.