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The calling to witness: Shining lights in a dark world

In a world shadowed by doubt and moral confusion, the call to witness is a beacon of hope. Entrusted with the responsibility as believers, we become torchbearers in spiritual darkness (Phil. 2:15). Like a city on a hill, our faith can help illuminate the path for others who are seeking purpose and redemption (Matt. 5:14–16). Guided by Scripture, our lives contribute to a grand narrative of divine love (2 Cor. 4:6). This journey is not just a duty, but a sacred privilege to bring God’s truth into the darkest corners, offering unwavering hope to those yet to hear his call (Acts 13:47). 

The dark world 

In the shadows of the earthly realm, the sinfulness and darkness of this world weave a tapestry of moral ambiguity, casting a pall over the hearts and actions of its inhabitants. This is a world where self-interest eclipses selflessness, deceit and dishonesty find fertile ground, and the pursuit of personal gain overshadows compassion for others. Those who are supposed to rule, fall; those who are supposed to heal, hurt; and those who are called to love, hate (Jer. 17:9; Eph. 2:1–3).  

The young person faces a host of issues in this context. Social media pressures people to conform to unrealistic standards of beauty, success, and artificial happiness. This contributes to feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, and unhealthy competition. Substance and alcohol abuse are prevalent, even in our Christian circles. Sexual immorality continues to climb at an all-time high. Materialism is pushed to the extent that if you don’t get everything you want in life, you have not succeeded. Even identity is something young people continue to grapple with, questioning whether God made a mistake in their formation. Those struggling with these questions often seek guidance from others with similar—or even less—experience than themselves, which often leads to poor outcomes and a lack of informed spiritual guidance.  

Let’s get a real grasp of the state of darkness in this world. One in five smartphone searches is related to porn. Approximately one million people are watching online pornography every minute, and one in four men actively hide their pornography use from their partner. This isn’t just a “guy problem” either; 16 percent of women consume porn regularly.1 That’s not all. More people than are in our standing military forces were aborted in 2021, and half the country would be fine with abortion as an unregulated right. Add to that the statistic that almost half of marriages today will end in divorce.2 In such a chaotic world, it’s not surprising that children often learn swear words before they can recite the alphabet.3 

Shining the light of truth 

Witnessing transcends mere activity; it is a divine mandate, a sacred calling from God that compels us to share the life-altering message of the gospel. Rooted in the scriptural command to go and make disciples (Matt. 28:19), witnessing intertwines two vital components: the validation of our testimony through righteous living and an earnest presentation of the “good news” centered around Jesus Christ. James 2:17 reinforces the idea that faith without corresponding actions is lifeless, underscoring the importance of a validated witness grounded in holy and separate living. Galatians 2:20 beautifully captures this synergy as Paul declares, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (NKJV). Our witness gains credibility through a life crucified with Christ, embodying the gospel’s transformative power. 

Based on the dark statistics cited above, we are all well aware of the great need for witnessing. Through this activity our lives become a living testimony, thereby giving authenticity to the proclamation of the gospel to those around us. The recipients of our witnessing may include other students in the college classroom or fellow employees in the workplace. But we also can witness in the Christian school classroom, at home, and when we are out with friends.  

Above everything else, the act of witnessing is a symphony that resonates with the melody of the gospel. Acts 16:31 encapsulates this in Paul’s words to the Philippian jailer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (NKJV). Witnessing presents the only way to salvation in Christ Jesus, while our lives echo the redemptive tune of God’s grace. This is why Peter urges believers to be ready always to give a reason for the hope they have, doing so with gentleness and respect (1 Pet. 3:15). Witnessing, then, is not a mere task, but a divine calling to echo God’s timeless message of love and redemption through our validated lives and the proclamation of the gospel. 

Perseverance through opposition 

Embarking on the journey of Christian witnessing plunges us into a world where challenges and opposition frequently stand in our pathway. Imagine discussing your faith with friends at school or colleagues at your part-time job; skepticism and criticism may surface, leading to a clash of diverse perspectives. And opposition isn’t just confined to external sources; it can also emerge from within. Our human nature resists witnessing, opting for silence or even joining in the world’s darkness. 

In addition to its interpersonal challenges, the academic setting of college often becomes an arena for clashes of worldview. Drawing on the power of the Holy Spirit, however, we can stand firm in our convictions, viewing these encounters not just as defenses of our faith, but as opportunities to embody Christian virtues. Much like Daniel in the lions’ den, facing opposition in academia allows us to share our faith while exemplifying patience, humility, and kindness. In facing these challenges, we can find inspiration in the early church’s unwavering commitment to spreading Christ’s message. From Stephen’s stoning to Paul’s imprisonments and eventual martyrdom, the resilience of these saints stands as a testament to the power of faith and serves as a guide in our own witnessing endeavors. 

These personal scenarios highlight the truth that opposition can manifest in various aspects of our lives, especially as young people. Perseverance in Christian witnessing extends beyond holding onto our beliefs; it involves navigating challenges with grace and staying true to our convictions. In the spirit of David facing Goliath, we confront opposition with the confidence that God is with us, knowing that our steadfastness can inspire others on their own journeys of faith. 

 

Peter is a sophomore pre-med student at Davenport University. He attends Byron Center Protestant Reformed Church in Byron Center, MI.