Praise and Evangelism
Read Ephesians 5:15-21
"Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord."
We often see very little connection between the praise of God on Sunday and being a witness for him in the week. Yet, they are interwoven. The tragedy of the modern church is that it has become a spectator event. We come, we passively sit while we watch others lead the worship. When we do join in worship, it is only done when we have the anonymity of congregational singing. Yet, when the worship leader asks for any personal testimony, the silence can be deafening. However, why the silence? For the psalmist and Paul, publicly praising God and proclaiming what he has done on our behalf is the expression of worship. In the Psalms, we repeatedly find that our praise is not done in the confines of a prayer closet but the public assembly of his people (see Psalm 22:6-8; 27:4-7; 107:32; 111:1). This was true for Paul as well (1 Timothy 2:8; 1 Corinthians 14:26). If we genuinely believe that God continually acts on our behalf, and his salvation is the greatest gift, why is it that we find it so difficult to talk about God even in the church?
There are several reasons. First, we fear speaking in public. Psychologists even have a word for it, "glossophobia" (from the Greek word glossa [tongue] and phobos [fear]). It is said that 75% of people rank public speaking as their number one fear. But fear comes from unfamiliarity. The way to overcome fear is to do the very thing that makes us afraid. To overcome the fear of speaking in public, we need to start to share with others.
Secondly, and perhaps the real reason, we speak of God's activity in our life because we fail to give him proper consideration. We tend to live life independent of God and give little thought to his providential activity on our behalf. If every good gift comes from God (James 1:17), we have countless reasons to proclaim his praise. However, to give thanks, we must give thought to what he has done. When we experience what is good, we must remind ourselves of the source of that good. It does not come from our abilities or our strength; it is always a gift from God.
However, praise is not just a response to God; it is also the foundation for our being a witness for God. If we are not talking about God and proclaiming his praise within the church's walls, we will not declare the praise of his salvation to those outside the church. Being a witness for him becomes natural when our conversations about him become spontaneous. If we are uncomfortable talking about God to the people who love Him, how will we ever feel comfortable talking about God to people who reject Him? If you want to become a witness for Christ in the world, start by becoming a witness for Christ in the church. When the praise God flows from our lips unrehearsed and unrestrained, then being a witness for him will become natural.