It’s very common to think of evangelism as a combination of doing and saying. But there is a component of our witness that may, at times, transcend even our words and our deeds. In fact, this aspect of our testimony can have a dramatic impact upon others. And what is it, you may wonder? It is our being!
You see, the power of a loving, joyful, and peaceful countenance upon the servant who loves Jesus is compelling. I don’t know what else to call it except the “Jesus look.” You may have your own expression.
The “Jesus look” is a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22 and is produced by the Lord, not our circumstances.
Many years ago while coaching tennis at East Tennessee State University, we had a gentleman named Mike who regularly played in our tennis tournaments. On other occasions I’d see Mike at the tennis courts where I was giving private lessons. Mike always had a smile on his face and his joy was contagious. It was a powerful testimony and one that caused me to take notice.
One day while giving a lesson, I saw Mike playing on an adjacent court. This was the day I was going to “confront” him. I thought to myself, ‘Surely this countenance can only come from the Lord, but I have to ask Mike nonetheless.’
I walked over to him and said, “Mike, I want to ask you something.”
He strolled over with that same joyful expression on his face. “Yes?”
I just blurted it out. “You love Jesus, don’t you?”
He grinned even more. “Yes, Yes I do.” Mike was – in a word – shining!
Evangelism as discipleship and discipleship as evangelism. I don’t know what you think of that quip (let me know if you’d like). But it’s germane in this way – your walk affects your witness. And more specifically, when you walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 5:7), your light will shine more brightly!
Whether we realize it or not, people are always watching. And interestingly, as in my gazing at Mike, people are not just not observing what we do or what we say – they also perceive how we are!
So as you think about your witness, take the pressure off of what you should say or do for a moment, and focus on simply abiding in Jesus, ‘the light of the world’ (John 8:12):
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (1 John 1:9-11)
What joy? The joy of the Lord – a fruit of the Spirit and witness of Christ.
After Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights on the mountain with the LORD, upon coming down the mountain with the Ten Commandment, the people were afraid to come near him because the ‘skin of his face shown’ (Exodus 34:28-30):
“So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.” (Exodus 34:30)
We can only imagine his visage. But it’s clear he was shining! And his shining was connected to his time spent with the LORD. Needless to say, that was a unique and intense experience of abiding with the LORD. To abide entails the concepts of connection, dependence, and continuance. Moses was connected to the LORD, depended upon the LORD, and continued with the LORD throughout his life of ministry.
Interestingly, as we abide in the Lord and shine the light, the response may be attraction or revulsion.
While walking through campus at the University of Florida in the mid-1980’s, I happened to run into Matt* (not his real name), an old neighborhood friend, who hailed from my hometown of St. Pete. I remembered two things about Matt – he was an awesome drummer and he got into lots of trouble. I hadn’t seen him in a few years, but the moment I saw him something was different, much different.
The countenance on his face was peace, and the tone of his words were also filled with peace. Matt shared with me that he’d become a Christian. He said he was recording a Christian concert with his group at our campus tv station and wanted to know if I wanted to hang out.
I said, ‘No thanks’ – and went on my way. In all honesty, his peaceful countenance freaked my out. You see, I hadn’t yet become a Christian. His glow was powerful and unique. I didn’t understand it. And I didn’t want to understand it. I was not a Christian at the time.
Matt was shining! And I was scared!
While some people are afraid of physical darkness, other people may be afraid of spiritual light…and for good reason:
“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (1 John 3:19-20)
Just a few years after running into Matt, I came to know the ‘Light of Life’ – Jesus! And I’m eternally grateful. This young Jewish man, who once feared the light, was now delivered by the light. Today, nearly three decades later, I’m still committed to shining the light! Oh, the grace and mercy of God!
We Jesus followers are living epistles. An epistle is a letter, and as such, it is read. Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth:
“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men: clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).
The implication is that people are always watching and reading us – not only our words and deeds – but also our countenance.
Whether we realize it or not, people are watching you and me. Always watching. With that in mind, may abide in Christ, walk in the Light, asking Him to help us – for HIs Glory – shine!
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7)