This is the 2nd post in a series about ways to honor God in your relationships with friends. In this post the focus is on sharing your testimony with friends, family, or coworkers who do not already have a relationship with God through Jesus.
To view the first post in this series click on the link below:
2. Sharing Your Testimony in Actions - This is simply displaying on the outside what God is doing on the inside. I am not saying you should put up a front to look good for others, but, if God has changed you on the inside, people will see it on the outside. For example, a person who has experienced the amazing forgiveness of God will display a peace and joy on the outside that was not there before. Another example is a person who has experienced a great amount of forgiveness and responds by forgiving others who have harmed him.
The fruits of the Spirit are perfect examples of what I am talking about. Galatians 5:22-23 says, "but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control..." These fruit will naturally flow out of a person who is being changed into the likeness of Jesus, the Messiah, by the Holy Spirit. It will happen automatically. When I was a young Christian I had a very superficial understanding of The Fruit of the Spirit. My thinking was we should adopt these characteristics and work to display them to the world so everyone would know I am a Christian. As I have grown in my relationship with God, and my understanding of the Holy Spirit, I have come to realize the fruit will naturally flow out of a person who is in a right relationship with God and who is allowing the Holy Spirit to change them on the inside...then, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will happen automatically.
Sometimes when God displays His love through our actions He also gives us the opportunity to share in words what they are seeing and/or have noticed in our actions. In many cases the opportunity to share in words only comes after you have demonstrated, over a long time, through your actions that have drawn attention to your relationship with God. When we get that opportunity we must be prepared to take advantage of that opportunity.
Telling others about our relationship with God is a very easy thing, but, we tend to complicate it and worry about how people will react. It becomes much easier when we realize our part is simply to share what God has done and is doing in our lives. We are not responsible for thier reaction. We don't have to convince others--God will take care of that. Also, we don't have to have the perfect story or a flawless speech prepared. Instead, we just have to be ready to share in simple, practicle ways, what God is doing in us. An example might be, someone observes a change in your attitude, such as, they say, "you seem less worried and anxious than you used to." You could simply say, "since I turned my life over to God and started reading the Bible and praying I have felt a great peace and I don't get anxious like before." That might be all you need to say--God will do the rest. The most important thing is to be ready to share when God gives us the opportunity.
Here is a perfect example from the Gospel of John, chapter 9:
 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?"  Some claimed that he was. Others said, "No, he only looks like him." But he himself insisted, "I am the man."  "How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded.  He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."
Sometimes it's just that simple. People notice a change and ask what happened. Then you simply tell what happened. A lot of people aren't sure what to say because the change in their life isn't as outwardly obvious as a blind person who can now see. Most people don't have a medical miracle to share but they have a change on the inside. My experience was like that. I felt joy, peace, and forgiveness. At the time I probably would have had trouble describing it that way, all I knew was that I had to tell someone about it. So, I found a friend who I knew was studying for the ministry and I talked with him for about 4 hours. In the months after that I also had the opportunity to share my experience with many people who noticed the change in me. My advice is to make it as simple as possible. Just tell what happened. Remember, you don't have to convince them or win a debate or pound them into submission...just tell what happened, why you act differently than you did in the past, and let God do the rest.
The key is to be sensitive to the way God is leading you. He may use you to plant a seed in a person's life and that may be the end of your part. That seed might even be planted without your knowledge by someone watching your life and antions. Then, someone else is led to share from their experience and that nurtures the seed God planted through you. Eventually, in God's timing, the seed is ready for harvest. In another situation, the seed is planted by someone else and God brings you in to nurture the growing plant or to weed around it so it has every opporutnity to grow. In either situation, you do your part and leave the rest up to God.
You may never know when someone sees what God is doing in you. They might not ever tell you, or you might hear about it years later. I have had that experience--years later someone shared how seeing my "smiling face everyday" helped them think about seeking God. I was told, "I could see joy in your life and I knew you were a Christian, but at first, I didn't want to think God was the source of your joy, but, in time, I realized that it was God afterall." One note of caution, if you look at yourself and see something other than the positive fruits of the Spirit or you receive consistent feedback that is not very flattering (they say you are grouchy, angry, worried, etc.) you may need to go to God and see what is going on with your relationship with God. You may have some work to do before you can be an effective witness through your actions.
One final word. always, be sure to give glory to God when someone recognizes the change God has made in your actions. Always point to God as the source of your joy, love, peace, etc.
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) says, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"
Above all else, seek God's guidance about what to say when people recognize what God is doing in you. It might be helpful to look ahead and try to anticipate what your response might be. As I mentioned earlier, be sure to give glory to God. The other side of that coin is in humility deny that you should recieve the credit and then, point the other person to God.
We honor God when people see the fruits of the Spirit in our lives and actions.