In making disciples of Jesus Christ, your walk is your witness. It's a high calling, one that we are not able to accomplish on our own, but God has given us a Helper.
I. Your Walk Talks
Several years ago, I heard an evangelist say in a sermon, "Your talk talks and your walk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks."
The humanitarian Albert Schweitzer said; "Example is not the best teacher, it is the only teacher." One thing is certain; there is no better teaching tool than a good example. This is key when it comes to making disciples! There is no greater tool on the disciple-maker's tool belt than a godly example.
Consider the Master disciple maker, the Lord Jesus Christ. According to the writer of Hebrews, He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and the friend of sinners. In fact, His life was so perfect that men had to be hired to bear false witness against Him, and even those who put Him to death had to say, "I find no fault in Him."
Notice what Paul tells the Philippian believers: "Only let your manner of life be worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel" (Phil.1:27). He admonishes these believers to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Why? Because when we live lives that are consistent with the Gospel we profess to believe, the Gospel becomes more believable!
When I was coming to grips with the claims of Christ, I became convinced that Jesus was real because I saw Him through the lives of young people who were genuine and living godly lives. I saw Christ in them, working through them to minister to me. They didn't just talk the talk, they walked the walk! When I saw Jesus in them, I wanted that kind of relationship with Him! Since then, I have asked God to help me "walk the talk" so that others might see Christ in me!
II. The Unseen Partner
If you are going to "make disciples," you must first be a disciple-learning, loving, obeying, and following after the Lord Jesus. It doesn't take long until you realize that following after Christ is an impossible task if you try to do it in your own strength and power.
Consider the demands: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matt.5:44). "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). "Be holy for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16). "Be anxious for nothing" (Phil. 4:6).
J. Oswald Sanders helps us understand this: "Is God so unreasonable as to make impossible demands on us and then hold us responsible for our failures? Our conscious spiritual inadequacy underlines our need for a partner who has adequate spiritual resources from which we can draw."
God has provided this unseen partner in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Godhead indwells the disciple and empowers him in his walk and witness!
1) Walk. The disciple's walk is his whole manner of life-his thoughts, motives, attitudes, and actions! The disciple learns he must surrender to the control of the Holy Spirit.
Consider what Paul says in Ephesians: "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). To be "filled with the Spirit" is to be controlled and empowered by the Spirit. When we surrender to the Spirit's control over our lives, He empowers us to follow Christ and bring glory to God! He provides the adequate resources necessary to do what we cannot do on our own-live the Christ life!
2) Witness. Jesus told believers in Acts: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
Only in the power of the Spirit can we really be empowered to be dynamic witnesses for Christ. The word "power" in the language of the New Testament is the same root from which we get the word "dynamite."
Consider the disciple Peter-in his own strength, he was a miserable failure who denied Christ. But when empowered by the Spirit, he fearlessly stood before the Jewish leaders and would not deny his Lord!
Following Christ is impossible in our own strength, but when we allow the Holy Spirit to control and empower us, we can follow Jesus wherever He leads!
Tim LaFleur serves as Disciplemaking Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee.