Years ago I was leading a course at church to prepare people to be mentors with the help of The Survival Kit for New Christians. On one occasion we were discussing the need for believers to share their faith. One dear friend, a trusted brother and deacon in the church, made the statement that he felt that all we need to do as believers is to live the life of Christ before our neighbors. In so doing they would be influenced to trust Christ.


I agree that we must live lives that show our savior to the world, I had to disagree with the premise that determining to live righteously before men would suffice. Francis of Assisi has been credited with first developing this bumper sticker: “Preach the gospel at all times – if necessary use words.” Sometimes our lifestyle isn’t enough. Occasionally we must open our mouth to proclaim what we know and what we live.


It is the lazy Christ-follower who assumes that his actions will speak the totality of his testimony. It is the arrogant one who decides to tell without living. Both sides of the coin must be available for the payment to be valid. Live and tell, tell and live.


In Stop Dating the Church, Joshua Harris reminds readers that the Church (capital C—the universal, not local, church) is “so close to the heart of God, so central to His work in the world, that He calls us the body of Christ.” If we truly believe this scriptural claim (see Ephesians 1:22-23), then there are more reasons we must not be silent in our witness.


We witness to the world when we tell them of what Christ has done for us. They see the evidence of it in the life that we lead before them—even if we occasionally falter. We witness also when we tell one another of our personal needs, heartaches, and joys. Consider that you, as a believer in Christ, are part of His body. Think now of how your body communicates: when you are hungry, the whole body knows. When even the smallest, farthest extremity is hurt, a message is sent immediately to the entire body that the whole body can share in the pain. Our selfish pride keeps this kind of communication blocked in the body of Christ. We don’t allow our brothers and sisters to know of our need, and they in turn do not and cannot pray for and with us. “I don’t want to bother . . .” “It’s not that bad . . .” “I don’t want everybody to know about . . .”


Consequently, we don’t talk to one another out of pride, and we don’t talk to people who need Jesus out of pride and fear: “They don’t want to hear . . .” “What if they ask a question I can’t answer.” “I don’t want to seem religious.”


Are you witnessing without words? That’s great. Sometime you’ll want to go the next step and tell your friend, your neighbor, your family member, your co-worker, why it is that you live the way you do. Maybe you could start today.