“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Col. 4:6)
“People may not read the Bible, but they read Christians. ..The most effective way for Christians to advertise the gospel is to conduct themselves in a way that will make it evident that Christ’s love has filled their hearts and lives.” (Harlyn J. Kuschel)
I vividly recall sitting in a classroom at Martin Luther College ready to start a new class entitled, “Lutheran Liturgy.” Expecting this class to be both dry and boring, I was taken aback when the professor bounded into the classroom with excitement and energy proclaiming, “I love teaching this class!” Like the dry bones of Ezekiel, the professor brought the subject to life with his enthusiasm and love for the material. It turned out to be one of the best classes I ever took.
Love for the subject influences our teaching. And love for people influences our witnessing. When walking the streets of Provo last summer, I was very conscious of being joyful when approaching the door of a Mormon. It makes a difference. It sends a message. We have good news to tell, good news of a Savior whose death on the cross has assured us of forgiveness and everlasting life. A message like that cannot help but affect the way we approach people. We have a message of joy that comes from a heart of joy.
Someone in history said that he cared not who wrote the nation’s laws if only he could write its songs. Culture is influenced by the songs people sing. The songs Christians sing pour forth from the faith we have in Christ and the trust we have in all of God’s promises. The psalmist sings out, “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:3)
When speaking the truth in love we will want to display the song the Lord has placed in our hearts and minds. Out of the overflow of a thankful heart our mouth speaks the words God wants pre-Christians to hear. Our joy not only reflects our faith, but also registers with those who hear us.