In our physical life, it is easy for our dietary (feeding/reading) and breathing (air/prayer) habits to become routine. Sometimes they are so ordinary that we are not even conscious of these habits. If we continue to eat and breathe without exercise, there is the danger of becoming overweight. There is nothing like exercise to stimulate hunger, burn excess calories, and introduce a fresh lungful of oxygen into your blood steam.
Spiritually, witnessing is fitness and exercise for the inner spiritual man. While the consequences of a lack of air or food are felt relatively quickly, the lack of exercise may not be manifested in the body until much later. Similarly, many Christians live a life of reading and studying with Bible and prayer but often do not feel the immediate need of ministry and witnessing. In the absence of evangelism, the body, though properly nourished with nutrients and oxygen, has no avenue of burning off the excess. As a result, the material gained is material wasted.
In the end, many Christians unconsciously die a spiritual death due to a lack of witnessing. They become sluggish, bored, unmotivated, depressed, and eventually spiritually obese, resulting in other psychological conditions. Spiritual apathy sets in, and even the sight of more Bible study and prayer becomes repulsive.
Just as the body needs to exercise frequently, our spiritual lives must exercise what we have learned and experienced through witnessing to our communities. This is not optional. It is the key to maintaining the taste for Bible study and prayer while becoming more spiritually healthy. For some who are fit, the fitness/witness prescribed should be hard-hitting and heavy. But for novices, the fitness/witness should be gentle. Some are called to preach to millions and call people to baptism. Others are called to meet one-on-one and offer answers to their questions about life. Whatever the form may be, we are called to exercise strength in the form of some service. “Strength to resist evil is best gained by aggressive service” (The Acts of the Apostles, 105).
Extroverted and introverted disciples alike are called to witness for Jesus. Witnessing is not a talent but a spiritual necessity. Regardless of our backgrounds, discipleship entails all three principles of Bible study, prayer, and witnessing. Rearranged and practically implemented through the week, these three principles can be reformulated as the Eight Discipleship “Power Habits”:
1. Daily personal prayer (prayer)
2. Daily personal Bible reading (Bible study)
3. Morning and evening family worship (prayer and Bible study)
4. Weekly Sabbath School attendance (prayer, Bible study, and witnessing)
5. Weekly church attendance (prayer and Bible study)
6. Prayer meeting or group Bible study (prayer and Bible study)
7. Regular personal witnessing (witnessing)
8. Regular involvement in church ministries (witnessing)