Acts 22:1 (NKJV) – “For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.”
Have you ever had someone just come up to you and ask you to explain Jesus and salvation to their friend? Or just to ask a question for themselves? I am still new to sharing my faith openly when someone asks, so right now I am getting used to recognizing those opportunities. This has happened to me a few times, but the other day was particularly memorable.
I have a set pattern when I get to work so I can get the rest of my day somewhat organized. As usual I stopped at one location to sort through paperwork before going to another. I was focused on what I was doing and as I came out of an office to leave I heard someone calling to me.
I turned to find one of the Christians I have discussions with half dragging a young man behind him. He knew my routine, so he was saying that he just needed me to quickly explain to the other person about salvation. It took me a few seconds to first let it register what he was asking, then get my thoughts aimed at the subject.
Like most people who get into their daily groove, I had my train pulling out of the station heading to the next stop. I had to back it up, then switch it to the right track. I came to realize later that a year ago or even a few months ago I may have just waved them off telling them to come back later.
As I was still shaking my mind trying to concentrate, I could hear him saying something about explaining that you can’t lose your salvation. I had to slow down and ask him to explain further. So he told me that the young man had accepted Christ, but was getting a hard time from elder Christians.
They were saying things like, “How can you say you’re saved when you still smoke and I still hear you curse”. There were other examples, but they were very similar. He was being made to feel that he was still no better than he was before he repented. I asked the young man if this was true and he confirmed the comments and how they made him feel.
As I said, I am still fresh in my renewed faith in Christ, so I know what the Bible tells us, but I can’t yet quote the exact chapter and verse where you find it yet. This is also one of my fears I have been overcoming. I may not have a degree in theology, but I am studying my Bible more and I can still share the good news of Christ.
I explained that God knows we will sin, but He does not love us any less. God loves us the same whether we have come to Him or not. It is up to us to accept His love and to better ourselves to honor Him. As we study the Bible, we see those things in our life that are not according to His Word. It gives us a chance to change as we begin to look at things differently.
The Holy Spirit will begin to start nudging us with those feelings of guilt to let us know when we stray. If you sin, stop and ask God for his forgiveness and the strength to resist in the future. We should start hearing the voice before we sin so we stop before we go through with it. Then we thank God for stopping us before we sin.
As this pattern continues, it gets easier and easier to resist temptation and sinful behavior. I continued to explain that some behaviors change quickly, while other may take years till we have noticeable results. Studying the Word, listening to the Holy Spirit, and prayers of strength or thanks help us with this journey, but patience is very necessary.
Without patience we will give up and listen to those condemning voices or succumb to mounting negative circumstances. Once a person gives their life to Christ, Satan and his demons get upset and will use any means available to push you back down. Even so called fellow Christians may be that obstacle trying to block you from finding the path God has for you.
As you can see this was a condensed version to offer some sense of reassurance, sort of like spiritual first aid. The young man said our talk was helpful, but I also told him I would speak to him later that day. I had to make sure he stayed motivated in his search for a relationship with God.
When I spoke to him that afternoon he was in better spirits and said he thought about a lot of the things we spoke about that morning. We had a nice conversation and I expanded on some of the areas he had more questions about. He was really becoming more interactive and his entire mood was elevating.
As we were finishing he repeatedly thanked me and I told him he was more than welcome. I am not sure if he understood that these conversations are beneficial to me as well, because it shows me what areas I should study more. I also realized that it lifts my spirits as well when I speak about God and His promises for us.
Parts of our interaction played over in my head throughout the rest of the day. Other passages from the Bible came to mind as well. These thoughts were as comforting as they were empowering just as the Bible is supposed to be.
The next morning I received a surprise in the form of three words. Guilt, not condemnation. I had a swirl of other connecting thoughts that didn’t actually play out till later when I had time to sit down and write what I was led by the Holy Spirit to write. The words just flowed and a short time later the poem was finished. I couldn’t wait to share with that same young man the next day.
I will share the poem next week, but have you ever let the proddings of the Holy Spirit be twisted by others into condemnation? Was there someone there to help you through it? Remember that the person offering solace could be you, so when the opportunity presents itself take the time.