A lady was going on her way to catch a train. She went through the ticket barrier and waited on the platform. A man approached her and asked if she was a Christian. She replied, “Why do you ask?” and he replied that he noticed that she was decently dressed, wore no jewellery or makeup and also by the way she carried herself. She replied that she was and felt flattered that she had been noticed in this way and congratulated herself on being a good Christian witness. When she got home, she greeted her husband and asked if he had bought the fruit she had asked him to shop for. He replied that he had completely forgotten and was horrified when she tore him to shreds verbally. Later that evening, her son came downstairs and asked his mother if she could help him with his maths homework. She looked at him impatiently and replied that she was too busy (watching TV) and that he should be able to work it out.
When Jesus said Christians should be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13), what did he mean by that? Should Christians be known for their outward appearance or inner deportment?
Look at this verse: Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewellery or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:3,4.
This verse suggests that the inner man is the most important. The Christian should exhibit the fruits of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5:22-23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
These attributes should be evident in the lives of those who have the Holy Spirit living within them. These virtues are the natural outgrowth of a person’s relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Let’s examine these fruits more closely:
Love: This is not just a feeling but an active, sacrificial love that seeks the well-being of others.
Joy: A deep sense of inner gladness and contentment that comes from knowing God and His presence in one’s life.
Peace: A state of inner tranquillity and harmony that comes from trusting in God’s sovereignty and care.
Longsuffering (Patience): The ability to endure and persevere through difficulties and challenges without losing hope or giving in to frustration.
Kindness: Acting with benevolence and showing compassion towards others, seeking to meet their needs.
Goodness: Demonstrating moral integrity, virtue and righteousness in one’s thoughts, words, and actions.
Faithfulness: Being trustworthy and reliable, remaining loyal to God and His promises
Gentleness: Exercising a considerate and humble demeanour, even in the face of conflict or adversity.
Self-control: Exercising discipline over one’s desires and actions, avoiding harmful behaviours and living in moderation.
This is the most crucial witness the Christian should bear. It does not mean that the Christians would be perfect in all these attributes, but they should be at least growing towards them! Christians are called to be different, but the most significant witness comes from the inside.
Terry Messenger is the Senior Pastor of Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist Church