Witness Is a Test of Our Treasure
Becoming a Christian doesn’t automatically or immediately cure us of this idol-worship. At the heart of all sin is idolatry in the heart—loving and obeying something other than our loving God. I am constantly struggling to keep the Lord Jesus at the center of my heart, to find my identity and assurance and purpose and satisfaction in him.
And unless I do, I will not speak about him. After all, we talk about what we love. If you’ve ever had a friend who has just got engaged, and you’ve listened to him talk about his loved one non-stop for hours (or if you’ve ever been that person!), you’ll know this is true.
So for as long as Jesus is not my greatest love, I will keep quiet about him in order to serve my greatest love, my idol. I will keep quiet about him because I am afraid of losing my greatest love, my idol. Suppressing the truth about Christ is the effect of our wicked worship of created things, and it makes God angry:
The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18)
An Idol Mind—and Heart
So if we know the gospel, but we’re not sharing the gospel, then it’s because our hearts are somewhere else. It’s actually because what we most want is a comfortable life, or a good reputation with friends and colleagues, or a nice settled existence with our family, and so on.
Even if we have everything straight in our heads, the reason that we won’t witness is because of what’s going on in our hearts. That’s why we say enough to salve our consciences—we talk about church, or Jesus’ love, or how great it is to pray—but we won’t say enough to help people be saved. We won’t talk about death, or sin, or hell, or salvation.
We need to ask ourselves, So what does my heart find easy to love more than Jesus? What stops me from obeying God by speaking of his Son? We need to spot our idols, so that we can confess our idols, and so we can begin consciously to seek what we have been looking for from those idols in the only place where we will truly find it—the Lord Jesus. We need to replace our idols with the real God: Christ.
If we’re to share Christ, we need first to truly love Christ. We need to ask the Spirit to go to work in our hearts with the gospel, so that we’ll love Christ more and more, and he’ll displace our idols; and so when we talk about what we love, we’ll be talking about him. And we won’t be regretting, once it’s too late, who we didn’t talk to about him.