CHRISTIAN WITNESSING: A CHILD’S PERSPECTIVE
The term adult is overrated. It is often ill-defined and based on a confined perspective. In reality, when compared to God, eternity, and an ancient earth, we are all mere newbies, children trying to find our way.
YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME
We see ourselves as sovereign. It is this way from childhood. Some children are more vocal than others on the subject and the little highnesses don’t hold back when perceiving a challenge to their noble standing. Once they understand they’re behind the generational eight ball, however, at least for the present, and the big people have the drop on them, they begin making plans for the future—“When I get big…”
Wiser children are a tad more circumspect. They somehow understand intrinsically that their little lives are good or at least not so bad. They have shelter and food and… toys!
“But they’re just using toys to keep you in line and under their authority.”
“What? You don’t like toys?”
“Toys are just tools of the capitalist bourgeoisie to train you as future oppressors of the proletariat.”
“I gather by your lack of proper retort that your brainwashing has already progressed to a probable point of no return and I must therefore and forthwith identify you as my enemy and insufferably target you with my considerable wrath, the first thrust of which is leaving you bereft and alone in the midst of this sordid establishment to suffer the misery of a wasted existence built on false hopes and dreams rather than join the glorious people’s revolution and overthrowing the man!”
“Johnny, are you spouting Communist propaganda again? Okay, to the playpen…”
“You may imprison me but my heart will stay free!”
“Want some apple juice?”
(The little Commie might have been more successful if he had conformed his propaganda to the interactive fine art of playing with toys. He overplayed his hand.)
THE SIN PANDEMIC
Here is an interesting fact. Many years ago, three months before I gave my heart to the Lord, I was witnessed to for the first time. Then, three months later, I was witnessed to once more, by the same person (It bore fruit). And guess what? I don’t remember ever being witnessed to again. That little factoid doesn’t speak well of American Christianity in general which surrendered its previous hard-charging evangelistic DNA maybe a century or so ago. And I was raised in a denominational church but I don’t recall ever hearing the term “witnessing.”
But there we were. And there they were, telling me about a big new change in their lives. I had already heard something about it. They were close friends, a young married couple. This was the first time they came over to see me since it all went down and tell me the weird news in person. Only it wasn’t so much them telling me about them but them telling me I had to also be like them. I was roughly their age, and was doing a good job of being friendly and open.
My associates and I had always prided ourselves on being open-minded and often partook of great conversations on any number of subjects and were never concerned about getting too deep. In fact, getting deep was cool. We were young adults. Everything was new and open. Being dogmatic was better left to canines. It was much more fun to hear many different points of view and gain information. No one owned the information and if you didn’t care for it, it was no big deal.
We opposed any form of censoring for the simple fact that we could end up missing good ideas and positive information, and things we might apply in our lives to make them better. Conforming to a dead orthodoxy was the last thing we wanted.
But these people, who I used to know and hang out with, had changed in what I soon perceived to be in a not so good way. I started feeling pressure. Are they trying to sell me on something? Really? And the answer was yes, they were. Rather than a conversation it switched over to a sales pitch. I started getting irked. The smiles were gone from their faces. I know now what was going on. They themselves were under pressure. They felt they had to do this, to witness to me, to tell me I must change…”
I got quiet briefly, my mood transformed from being welcoming, open, and very friendly to a tad somber. I’m sure I must have lowered my eyebrows and effected a somewhat borderline dismayed expression. At last I told them that if they didn’t stop they may as well leave. (What they were doing was not cool. Not in the least.) He looked more upset than she did and said “Let’s go.” She showed more concern and didn’t want the visit to end on a bad note but they’re the ones that brought it on. They overplayed their hand.
WITNESSING IS A FORCED OPTION
So you see, sinners don’t like being referred to as sinners. No one likes to be thought of as inferior in need of a major remodel and paint job. Pride always kicks in. We stand up for ourselves and should. It is in the heart of every person to defend their honor regardless of morality level. There might only be a half tank or so left but good things still reside within and besides, aren’t these people a tad arrogant to think they’re better? This is why witnessing is tricky and witnessers must have some level of proper training. The Lord did this. He prepared His men before sending them out.
I think a much better witness would have been for my friends to come over still exulting in the joy of the Lord as I know they did in church and at home. They were too young then spiritually, as we all are early on, to understand that witnessing is a forced option in that it happens no matter what we do or how we do it. What I saw was a religious sales pitch. What they saw was the need to make me convert just as they had. Although they didn’t really convert. They were actually gloriously filled with the Holy Spirit and had a powerful and positive life-changing experience. If they had come over with absolutely no pressure tactics and allowed me to see the big change for the better in their lives simply by their love, joy, and outward actions, I would have been more impressed. It would have planted a seed within that would have grown into greater curiosity on my part and later on I might be more willing to open up, likely when I was down or struggling.
And this is exactly what ended up happening. They changed tactics and began praying. The whole church prayed for me. Over a three month period I felt my swagger and manly security slowly slipping away. I began being more aware of my shortcomings. In a tender and loving way the Lord was showing me my sin. The Lord Himself was witnessing to me! He was preparing me for what He knew I really wanted, and part of the preparation was “breaking up the fallow ground of my heart.” He was plowing deep furrows in my heart is what He was doing. He was getting the soil ready to receive the Gospel seed. When the time came for the final witness I was ready.
That second time around it was exactly like what I had suggested before. It was a time of smiles, laughter and joy. Whatever it was they had, I wanted it.
But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” [Luke 18:16-17]
© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Posted on July 29, 2020, in Teaching and tagged Evangelization and Witnessing, Infilling of the Holy Spirit, Lord Jesus, Power To Be Anointed Witnesses, Repentance, Salvation in Jesus, Sin and Rebellion, Sinners Saved By Grace, The Disease of Sin, The Sinner's Self Deception. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.
thank you RJ! I was NEVER witnessed to and I grew up in the Lutheran church, fell away, took a horrific left turn into new age and mysticism, and God Himself had to intervene sovereignly and witness to me Himself by the Holy Spirit and lead me to The Way, The Truth and The Life to replace all the lies I believed from religion and counterfeit spirituality with The Truth by the Spirit of Truth. Now I yield to the Holy Spirit, knowing God our Father and His Christ can be completely and utterly be trusted, relied upon, depend upon and give my entire life to. I have found The One my soul loves, and Who loves me far more than I ever thought or imagined or dreamed or asked!
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Isn’t it great? Thanks Yvonne. I’m not sure of your time frame but in roughly the early to mid 1980s the New Age Movement in America went full scale and Christians started writing books revealing it and warning of its dangers. I still have the books I acquired then. Do you remember the author Constance Cumbey?
no, I have never heard of her, what was her message?
A Christian author, she was on the forefront of exposing the New Age Movement. Two of her books that I have from that time are The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow (1983) and A Planned Deception: The Staging of a New Age “Messiah” (1985).
I will check them out!
Okay. By the way, I appreciated the rest of what you said in your first comment and noted that you had never been witnessed to. It’s an amazing thing that even when a messenger cannot be found the Lord Himself will be the Messenger. Regarding the way I received my witness, a Christian couple moved from another city pretty far off to my city and the wife applied for a job at a restaurant. One of the other people applying was my witness, a close friend and wife of a close friend. She was really hungry for God and the other woman, whom she had never met, witnessed to her. It’s a good story and reveals a chain of events that the Lord was orchestrating for all of us.
Blessings to you, Yvonne. The Lord is forever faithful.
Blessings to you!
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It is so easy to fall into the trap of witnessing as a project rather than a way to live our lives before others. It really is about building a relationship with others based on love and then letting the Lord do the work. That doesn’t mean we don’t speak the gospel but if we’re not living it out our words will most likely fall on deaf ears. Good reminder.
Thanks Donna. I appreciate the contribution. I want to make sure my readers understand that what happened was a rookie mistake that was quickly corrected. On the one hand, some churches/ministers often force the issue and apply pressure to witness and those they send witness under pressure. We certainly must go out and do it as led by the Lord but must also allow for His direct involvement, as you stated. Sometimes I wonder how many detailed plans of the Lord have gone awry due to a weak or misperforming link in the chain. But then again, I’m sure He makes provision for such. Be Blessed!
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Yes, I am thankful for His all sufficient grace. I’ve needed it many times.
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If memory serves Oswald Chambers was rebuked for witnessing to a farmers hand and the farmer asked him if the Holy Spirit had given him the go ahead! Lesson learned. 🙂
Thanks Tanya. Good perspective. One wonders how many Christian services and meetings are opened with a sincere plea to the Lord Jesus to please take charge, to help with our surrendering to His authority, and enable us to minister to one another in the Spirit, in His strength and anointing, and according to His will. I think it’s probably only a few.
Blessings to you.
This is a wonderful testimony, RJ. It has blessed me, and I’m sure everyone else who has read it.
Witnessing has always been emphasized in the churches I’ve attended. In fact, for a few years I was the leader of a women’s soul-winning group. We were trained by someone who was experienced and successful at witnessing and winning souls. In turn, we took on trainees of our own. It was a great group of inspired, Spirit-filled women who truly cared about winning the lost to Jesus. Our training included being sensitive to how we were received, and to back off when it wasn’t going well, leaving a friendly atmosphere so that we could try again another time. I’m so thankful for those years of training and helping others. It has influenced my entire approach to witnessing. In my counseling office, it was my privilege to win many unsaved clients to Jesus. What a blessing that was!
Thanks Linda. Good work! It’s always a great testimony when it concerns leading people to the Lord. The Lord said he who has been forgiven much loves much, and I think those who understand grace better have a greater desire to witness to others, to the point of wanting to save the whole world. When I was a rookie Christian a group of us got together from church with the express purpose of working on a plan to witness to every person in our city. I learned later of a pastor’s wife who was also a strong minister herself who actually did this in her city, and I think more than once. Her city was pretty small by comparison but it was still a great effort and many came to the Lord. Ours was a city of 900,000! A tad later we got a better idea of the logistics involved and the plan was eventually nixed by our pastor. But the passion for evangelism was certainly there and overcame “rationality.” Much witnessing was still done in other ways and that church eventually filled up all the empty pews.
I’m glad the post was blessing to you. Our stories of personal salvation are all different but there is nothing more important or meaningful in our lives. I’m sure there are many who will never forget you and the role you played in their lives working for the Lord.
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