Grace and peace.
Many Christians are concerned because they don’t know what specific work God has called them to do, and they feel discouraged when they hear others talk about their personal ministries. But God has a work for all of us to do—a ministry that He has equipped every one of us to fulfill. That ministry is witnessing.
I have always believed that not all of us are called to witness to many, but we are all called to witness. It may be that we have been called to witness to one particular person, and perhaps it is that person who will go on to affect the lives of many more.
Take Abraham Lincoln. History has been doctored such that there is no singular account of Lincoln’s faith. By some accounts he was a Christian, but by others, he was merely a man of high moral standards. Among those who believe he was a Christian, some believe he was so raised, while others say that he was converted while viewing the graves of thousands of soldiers killed in war. Still others say that he converted to Christ after the death of his son.
Among those who believe Lincoln was not a Christian, the consensus is that it was not out of religious conviction that Lincoln freed the slaves. They believe that Lincoln held no particular regard for the Negro or his plight, and that his only concern was to keep the Union together.
In the book, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, Charles Chiniquy writes that Lincoln was indeed a very devout Christian, and I tend to agree, for freedom is a biblical concept. Had Lincoln not signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves and gone on to sponsor the 13th Amendment to the Constitution permanently abolishing slavery as an institution, blacks would be in bondage to this very day. Given that his very life was at stake—and there is every sign that he knew it was—I don’t believe that Lincoln or any other man would have given his life merely to hold a nation together.
No, it was something more. Many men are willing to die for a cause; some are even willing to die for principles. But it is a rare man indeed who would give his life for another man.
“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
“But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8).
Abraham Lincoln was emulating his Master, the Lord Jesus, who gave his life to set mankind free.
I believe that at some point Lincoln heard the Gospel and that Gospel changed his life and ultimately the lives of millions of others. God used Abraham Lincoln in a mighty way. And it was the witness of one faithful person that began a chain of events leading to what is one of the greatest events in the history of a people. And it all started with a witness. Even if that witness was Lincoln’s mother or father, it was no less significant. In fact, if that were the case, it would even better illustrate my point.
So, if you are trusting in the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation, you have a ministry. It may not involve preaching before many people or even teaching a Sunday school lesson. And it may not entail a radio ministry that reaches millions of listeners or publishing a book that will inspire many. It may only be sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with one person; and that person may go on to do great things for God and man.
You may not be gifted with a charismatic personality or a great speaking voice. You may even be reluctant to speak to people. But if you are a true Christian, you have a testimony. And if you have a testimony, at some point, there will be an opportunity for you to give it. That one opportunity may be your entire ministry.
Believe me when I tell you that if you have been saved by the blood of Jesus, you can testify to what God has done for you:
- You could testify how God delivered you from some sin or addiction you previously had no power over.
- You could testify how God brought you through some very difficult time: whether it be losing a job, life after a difficult divorce, or just coping with everyday life.
- You could testify how God showed you that contrary to what everyone else in your life thought, you are somebody.
- You could testify how God was your comfort after suffering the loss of a friend, loved one, family member, or child.
- You could testify how God delivered you from depression or profound sadness.
Understand that our lives are hidden with Christ. Therefore, absolutely nothing in our lives is coincidence. God allows us to go through difficulties not only to make us stronger, but so that we may incorporate the experience into our testimony—that it may be of benefit to someone else. Believe me, there are people in this world who are hurting. Most of them don’t know the Lord, so they are powerless over their circumstances. These people could benefit greatly from knowing how God brought us through. This is the importance of our testimony: to testify of the all-providence, protection, and goodness of God in Christ Jesus.
Even if we haven’t been faithful, God still does for us. He is better to us than we are to Him. That in and of itself is a testimony. Scripture says, “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). God is putting beans and rice on your table. So, He is making good on His promise to provide for you. It may not be steak and potatoes, but it’s keeping you alive. In this economy, that may be the most comforting testimony of all!
Now, Satan is not going to be happy with our witnessing, so we must be constantly on the alert. Satan will do everything in his power to demoralize and discourage us. It is not unusual for people who are on fire for the Lord to have all kinds of personal problems. People may see this as a sign that the person is being punished for some sin, but it may very well be that the person is living a life that glorifies Jesus and Satan is not happy about it. Sometimes the intensity of our persecution is in direct proportion to our obedience to God.
If Satan can’t keep you from witnessing, he will try to destroy your witness. In other words, he will try to put you in a situation that makes you act contrary to your avowed Christian faith, so he can accuse you (Revelation 12:10) of being a counterfeit Christian. Once in this position, your witness will be ineffective.
I have read that one tactic Satan uses is to lure a male Christian such as a pastor or evangelist into a compromising situation with a female. He may do this is by having the female receive counseling from the male without another female present. In this situation, she may reveal some sexual indiscretion such as a sexual liaison with someone not her husband or a sexual addiction. Satan will always use a situation like this to his advantage. Without another female present, the male could be beguiled into falling into a sexual relationship with the unfortunate woman. From that point on, Satan owns the individual. Many have had their witness destroyed in this way and have compromised the Gospel. Others have left the ministry altogether.
Another way Satan can do this is to have a male constantly approached or passed by women dressing in provocative clothing to get him to react in a way that is unchristian. In the digital age, recorders are getting smaller and smaller, and people are just itching to post something on YouTube. It would be easy to compile a digital record of a Christian male with an eye for the opposite sex. Rest assured that there are people who would—and do—go to that extreme.
For example, sometime ago, I became aware that an inordinate number of women were passing me on the street wearing “daisy dukes.” It all started when a young lady in one of my classes wore daisy dukes on the last day of class. Usually, this girl dressed in very good taste, but on this day, she wore the shortest pair of shorts that I had every seen. Now this girl was attractive and liked attention, so she normally came to class fashionably late. Yet this day she showed up almost an hour before class and didn’t bring any book or study materials. She told me that she was not worried about passing the test. So why did she come to class so early? Because I always come to class early for tests. The enemy orchestrated this meeting so that I and the girl would be alone for almost an hour—and we were.
I knew instantly that Satan was trying to set me up. So I first rebuked the girl for the way she was dressed. I told her that she should show more respect for herself than to wear something that showcased what she had downstairs rather than upstairs. Then I witnessed to her. I gave her a Gospel tract entitled Unloved. As God would have it, she ended up telling me that her father was in jail serving a life sentence and that she had suffered serious abuse as a child. This changed the entire course of the conversation. A few minutes later, she got a text, and she stopped talking to me. Her handlers knew that they had lost this battle and I imagine they told her to cease and desist.
Afterwards, when I saw her in the hallway and on the train, she avoided making eye contact with me altogether. I had succeeded in deterring her from further attempts to distract me, and I never saw her again. The Bible is true: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Another tactic Satan uses is to attempt to discourage us from witnessing by putting people in our path who have no desire to hear the Gospel. Their mission is to keep us from witnessing to others who need it, by wasting our time on them. In my case, for example, Satan will fill a train with people who will outnumber 10 to 1 those who really need and want to hear the Gospel. I have also had people walk up to me who will strike up a conversation that will inevitably come around to religion. The person will pretend to want salvation and will ask questions, sometimes even pretending to make a decision for Jesus. Ultimately he only wanted to occupy my time and keep me from witnessing to someone who really needed to hear the Gospel.
We should not be discouraged when this happens. We are in the last days of the Last Days, and Jesus said it would be as in the days of Noah before He returns. Not everyone who hears the Gospel will accept it, and they are not intended to. Our ministry is not only to lead people to the Lord, but also to give Jesus the means by which He will later condemn those who refused to hear the Gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:12). God told Jeremiah that not one person would be converted by his preaching. Jesus told the disciples that if a town rejected the Gospel, they were to shake the dust off their sandals for a testimony against them. Scripture says that Noah’s ark was an indictment against the sinful people of his day. So it is with our witness. The point is that since we don’t know who will ultimately accept or reject the Gospel, we are simply to witness and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
Often I will even give a tract to these people because they too are souls for whom Christ died. It makes no difference whether the person genuinely wants to hear the Gospel or is trying to waste our time; the important thing is that we witness. As you gain experience and become more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, He will reveal to whom He wants you to witness, and you will find yourself wasting less time. In the meantime you are in training, and every person is a training opportunity—even the rebellious. Remember, God is in control, and He will find a way for those He wants to hear the Good News.
We must fulfill the Great Commission for it is for this purpose that we are in the world. We must witness. If we can’t, we can at least pass out Gospel tracts; they are available from several ministries. I rarely leave home without a number of tracts in my pocket. I either pass them out directly or leave them where they will be found.
I hope this encourages someone who is wondering what work God has for him to do. Whether you are someone who doesn’t know how God could use you, someone who thinks he doesn’t have the gift of preaching or a talent for expositing Scripture, or someone who feels he hasn’t been through enough to have a testimony; if you want to be used, God will use you. Right now. You already have a testimony. Just tell people what God has done for you. I guarantee He’s done something. He saved you, right? If you can’t muster up the courage, tracts always work.
If you already have a ministry, but the Devil has discouraged you almost to the point of giving up (I’ve been there)–don’t. Your work in the Lord has not been in vain. If Satan is leaning on you, it’s because you have been faithful and are disrupting his plans. There will be pushback. So hang in there. God will see you though. I’m a witness.
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Stay encouraged and look up; your redemption draweth nigh.
The Still Man
Copyright © 2011 Anthony Keeton, The Still Man ®. All Rights Reserved.