I just came across this incredible TED lecture over at the Daily Durias, where Derek Sivers explains the findings of sociological research demonstrating that expressing your goals verbally actually makes you much less likely to achieve them than had you kept quiet. He argues that the voicing of your intention to do a certain thing creates a social reality, which creates an effect in your brain equivalent to your having actually done it. Moreover, actually accomplishing the goal has no effect on the identity formation at stake: either way, you have announced yourself as the sort of person who would do something like this.
My thought immediately was that this is exactly what Jesus was concerned with in his injunctions to keep our faith secret, whether that was not telling our left hand what our right hand was doing (Ethics/Training-in-virtue) or keeping quiet regarding his identity as the Messiah (evangelism). My friend Chris once remarked about how weird it is that Evangelicals call reading their bibles “doing devotions” – shouldn’t we call “doing devotions” the actual doing of what the Bible says?
I think this has large implications for our understanding of witness to Christ. Thoughts hereby solicited.