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What it Looks Like to be a Witness as a Christian (the expectation was never perfection)



The other night I did a prayer walk, and man, after not doing one for a while, it felt so good to just talk to Jesus, no distractions. I was praying over the blog, when I felt a nudge to turn to John 1:8. It says,


"He himself was not the light; he only came as a witness to the light."


For some context here, the author is talking about John. John, the cousin of Jesus, was born before Jesus, and talked to a ton of people about the Messiah's coming. Like, John had a ton of followers and could have been social media famous if Instagram was a thing during this time. He taught large crowds about who the Messiah would be and caused a lot of people to repent and follow Jesus. He was all in for Jesus, before Jesus even came.


This verse is clarifying that John is not the Messiah, but that he is a witness to the Messiah.


This hit home in a big way. Let me explain.


We all have influence, to varying degrees. In our families, friend groups, teams, church, on social media, etc - we all have influence. And if you're like me, sometimes it's easy to believe that we have to be the perfect representation of Jesus. It's easy to believe that I need to have it all together and be so boldly and flawlessly following after Christ, so that a) I can bring people to Jesus and represent the Lord I love well and b) I can uphold the reputation of what Christianity "looks like". Because there's a lot of hate for Christians, and a lot of misunderstandings. So I take it upon myself to look like Jesus as best as I can and to fit into this mold of the perfect Christian.


Except, that's not what Jesus asked. Just like John was called to, we are called to be witnesses. Not exact replicas of Jesus, not perfect Christians, not even got-it-all-together evangelists. No! By definition, a witness is "evidence" or "proof", or someone who happened to watch an event take place.


We are evidence of Jesus' love. We saw His work in our life, now it is our responsibility to walk around displaying that testimony.


Not perfectly. Not to maintain a reputation or uphold the "good Christian girl" image. But simply to be a reflection.


We don't have to get all the answers right. We don't have to make the most perfect decision always. We don't have to expect ourselves to never fail or never give ourselves room to grow because we're too afraid to mess up. We don't have to live our lives controlled by the opinions and perspectives of the people around us.


Absolutely not.


We get to live our lives walking with Jesus, through His strength, not ours. We get to grow and learn and keep running after Jesus, even after we mess up. We get to pray and surrender the fact that we don't have the answers, and instead trust that He does. We get to share what God has done in our lives, while being honest and admitting that we too are still figuring things out and can't explain everything perfectly.


So yeah, we have influence. Sure, we're called to be witnesses. But that never once meant that we have to have it all together, being the perfect image of a God-loving girl. It never meant we have to have all the answers, never mess up, or never have questions. It does mean that we get to love people extra hard, forgive a little more, and obey the commands God has given us - but all through His strength, never ours.


And yes, being a witness of God's love does require effort on our part. We can't just keep living our lives however we want to live expecting that to glorify God. We may have to go out of our way a little more, or be intentional about starting real conversations about our faith. We're going to have to trust that Jesus is good even when life is hard, and we're going to have to set up boundaries in our behaviors and relationships so that we don't blend into the world. It does take effort, but the expectation was never perfection - the expectation was a relationship with Jesus.

 

It is my prayer that we, as a community, would learn to release the standard of perfection on ourselves and learn to breathe, live, and love. Jesus was human too, learning and growing and experiencing, and we are allowed to do the same thing. While we won't ever be perfect on this side of Heaven, I truly believe that all He wants from us is a relationship and for us to continually be growing in our faith, so that our lives will increasingly begin to reflect the love He has shown us.

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