Most Christians want their light to shine among other people, to serve as a signpost to the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. But just how does a believer go about being a good witness? Sometimes the virtuous qualities and characteristics we strive hard to live out in life earn us a unique opportunity to reach others—for as the old adage reveals, “Actions speak louder than words.”
In my experience, people are much more attentive and receptive to my words about the truth of Christ and Christianity when they are the ones who have initiated the subject. That’s not to say that I will never bring up the gospel of my own volition—there certainly have been various times when I sensed that I needed to share the gospel of Christ with a person who had not first asked me about it. But generally, when it comes to sharing one’s faith with people with whom we have a long-term relationship, such as a non-Christian family member, coworker, or friend, I have found that the gospel discussion is so much more fruitful when the other person brings up the topic first.
But what sorts of things can serve to draw another person’s attention to our deeper beliefs about spiritual realities? Here I offer three qualities that I think serve to draw people to ask about our faith.
1. Strive to Have a Robust Work Ethic
How an individual approaches work or their job reveals a great deal about the person. People are used to encountering others who cut corners, are lazy, and have numerous excuses as to why they can’t work hard. But a person with a strong work ethic stands out. Why? Because you can’t fake genuine hard work. Our workplace is where we, in practical terms, either “put up or shut up.” When we earn a reputation for being a hard worker, people want to know where the fire in the belly comes from. They genuinely wonder why you give it your all. Scripture reveals that believers are to work diligently in order to honor God (Colossians 3:23).
2. Strive to Prize and Handle Truth as If It Is Sacred
People know when you’re playing fast and loose with the truth. In fact, lying is so common that we expect it even from people who have taken a pledge to be truthful. But an honest person who handles all truth, big and small, with care and precision, stands out. Truth tellers are rare, and when people encounter them in life they are more willing to consider what they have to say. The triune God is Truth with a capital T. In fact, Jesus Christ specifically called himself the Truth (John 14:6). Thus, Christians should strive to treat all truth as if it is sacred because it is.
3. Strive to Treat All People with Respect
How you treat other people, especially difficult people, reveals a great deal about your character. It is easy to be kind to people who are in return kind to you, but earning a reputation for treating even ill-tempered people fairly and respectfully makes you stand out. You can treat a person with respect even if you don’t particularly like the individual. Doing so means that you treat each person as if they have inherent dignity and moral worth. When you treat people respectfully, no matter the situation, others will want to know why. The Christian answer is that all people are worthy of respectful treatment because they are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27).
Striving to be a hard worker, a truth teller, and respectful of others isn’t easy, and none of us can do it perfectly. We must remember that we are all forgiven sinners with an inner human nature that is broken and in need of divine transformation. Thankfully, salvation comes solely by God’s grace. But even with our constant imperfections, non-Christians will take notice when you strive to take work, truth, and human respect seriously.
Reflections: Your Turn
What traits do you consider to be spiritually attention-getting? What did God use to draw you to salvation in Christ?
For more on evangelism, apologetics, and salvation in Jesus Christ, see my book 7 Truths That Changed the World.