Monday, November 3, 2008
Have you ever tried to witness to someone and tell them about how good God is? Have you ever tried to explain to someone that no matter what they’ve done or how far they’ve gone that they can still make their way back to God? Whether you are a new convert or a seasoned saint, chances are you have. You can’t help but to speak of the goodness of God. Once God has blessed you, it is only a natural reaction that you want to share the good news with others.
I jump at the opportunity to proclaim the goodness of God. After all, the Word tells us that we are to go out in to the hedges and highways and compel others to come in so that they might to saved (Luke 14:23). In my quest to share the goodness of God with as many souls as I can, I’ve come to notice that it’s a little more difficult to witness to those that had an experience with the Lord and have fallen away than it is to lead people to Christ that have never met Him before. Why is this so?
I know at this point you are probably marveled at that statement and may even disagree with me. But if you are willing to give me a minute I’ll explain why I made the statement. Some time ago I was in a conversation with an old friend that we’ll call “Mary”. Mary used to be very spiritual and active in her church but due to some circumstances she has fallen out of fellowship with the Body of Christ and even more sadly out of communion with God. The topic of religion almost always comes up whenever we are together because she and I used to be prayer partners and attend the same church. Mary is very adamant about her preference to not to discuss religion but if you talk to her long enough she’ll quote scripture or praise God without even realizing she’s done it. After while, I decided it was time for me to stop being a so timid and invite her to come back to the Lord. I’ve been praying for her for some time now and believe that God hears my prayers so I decided to add a little “works” to my faith as alone faith without works is dead (James 2:17).
Mary became super defensive and assured me that her salvation was in tact even though she doesn’t pray, go to church or keep God’s commands. (That’s another post for another day.) I never once told her that she wasn’t saved. I have no authority to make such a statement to anyone. Mary further explained that she didn’t want to go back to the church she was raised in because the members all knew about some of the “activities” she engaged in while she was away. I told her that I understood and offered to pray with her and reminded her that God’s love is unconditional. While man may judge the outer appearance, God judges the heart. If God could forgive everyone else – He could surely forgive her as well. God is no respecter of persons.
After Mary and I went our separate ways, I still felt a little uneasy. Mary was convinced that because she started drinking, smoking, fornicating and stopped praying, fasting and attending church that she couldn’t even go to church and talk to the “church folk” let alone God. She was afraid that she was not good enough. With her mouth, she said that she thought she was in perfect standing with God but in her heart she felt unworthy. I know how she felt because I was Mary.
The Word tells us in 2 Peter 2:21 that it is better to have never known the right way than to know the right way and to depart from it. So I felt that until I straightened my act out that there was no hope for me. I knew that the wages of sin was death and that at any moment while I was living in sin that had I died hell would have been my eternal residence. So I didn’t want to hear anything anyone had to say about God.
As a result, God used a whole lot of bad situations to wake me up and get my attention. One day I heard him clearly tell me that I was to walk worthy of the vocation to which I was called. He said that he called me to a vOcation and not a vAcation. I say all this to remind you that when you are witnessing -particularly to those that know the Word of God and understand the repercussions for their actions, to be a little more persistent with them. You would think that by them knowing more and having had a personal relationship with the Lord that they would be eager to get back in right standing with God but once the enemy begins to work on the mind, the first thing he does is distort the truth because he is a liar and the truth isn’t in Him.
While I was “away” I recall telling people that “I don’t want to hear that ‘God stuff”” or even pray but in all actuality. I didn’t just want to hear it – I needed to hear it. If you offer Jesus to someone and they tell you that they are a backslider, remind them that God is married to the black slider. I’m happy to say that I’m the prodigal daughter that has “came to herself” all because I heard a preacher say “You’re a backs slider….AND”? In other words, I wasn’t right with God and was never going to get right with Him by hiding from Him.
If you’ve ever slid back to your old ways after you were saved, how did God get your attention and cause you to come back to yourself? How do you encourage others to go back to Him?
Posted by Shanita Waters at 1:29 PM