Noticeable Change?

People complain. Some complain a lot, and some complain a little. No matter the frequency, everyone complains. Even those shaking their heads as they read this muttering, “I never complain,” complain at times. It is part of the human condition, complaining. Another aspect of the human condition is that many do nothing about their complaints. They simply complain.

Complaining is not always a problem. It can be a legitimate way of venting a little frustration, ask for a little sympathy, or get someone’s attention. Certainly, someone who complains constantly can be annoying. Yet, it is likely everyone has chronic complainers in their lives, and they don’t do anything about them, except complain.

As much fun as it was to write the preceding paragraphs, this piece is not about complaining in general. It is about one complaint in particular. It is a complaint AnOldSinner hears regularly, and it is a complaint that deserves attention.

Many Christians complain about their inability to share the gospel effectively. One version of the complaint is, “I never know what to say.” Or, “I am afraid I’ll say something wrong.” Another version is, “I told them why I believe, but my testimony did not move them.” There are other variations on this theme, but the bottom line is many Christians know they should share the Good News, but they don’t, can’t, or won’t.

Some of these complaints, or fears, cannot be discussed in a few hundred words. People must grow in their faith, and they must overcome their fears through prayer, planning and persistence. With that said, there is an underlying issue in many of these cases that can be addressed in a few paragraphs. At least, this writer’s hubris seems to feel it can be addressed in that space.

This writer’s experience and training lead to the belief that there are a couple of underlying problems to be addressed. One is beyond the control of this writer or any human. Only God knows when one is truly ready to share his or her testimony and the Gospel with a seeker or unbeliever. Only God can prepare the heart of a person to hear the Gospel and respond to it.

Each believer needs to trust that God will use him or her in His time. However, that truth should not be used as an excuse to avoid an opportunity to share one’s faith with another. Sometimes, He may want one to share and be rebuffed. Sometimes, He may want the seeker to hear from several believers before He opens the seeker’s or unbeliever’s heart. Whatever the reason, not every opportunity to share Christ will be productive and fulfilling. Instead, it may be God’s way of stretching and strengthening one’s faith.

That does not mean one can sit on his or her hands waiting for the call. It may be that one has work to do to prepare for the day God asks a believer to witness to someone. Preparation can take several forms. One is to write out and practice one’s testimony. This does not mean one should memorize one’s testimony and reel it off like lines in a movie. It simply means a believer should be comfortable with what he or she is going to share.

Knowing and being comfortable with one’s testimony is important. However, that testimony must be believable. By that, this writer is not saying it must be provable or not contain elements that an unbeliever might see as mystical. The very idea of believing in something one cannot see, touch, taste or hear is something many find troubling. Still, if one’s testimony involves a vision, a dream, or what some call a God tap the mystical or supernatural element is part of the testimony.

The believability must come from the person giving the testimony. What the believer is saying must match what the unbeliever or seeker sees in the one testifying. For example, in a piece entitled “Seeking … an Excuse” this writer spoke to the issue of actions not matching rhetoric, and how that sort of hypocrisy can be used by those wishing to avoid a relationship with Christ.

One’s Christianity should be apparent to others. One way it can be apparent is through changes in the way one behaves. Change is a big part of one’s salvation or rebirth into Christianity. Change is a constant message from the Bible and the pulpit. The New Testament makes this clear.

If you consider yourself a Christian, have you changed since being saved? Could someone tell you might be a Christian by the way you live and act? When you look in the mirror or think back over your life, can you see any differences between the old you and the Christian you? If your answer to this question is, I go to church, I read the Bible, I pray regularly, or a combination of these you may need to rethink your answer.

© AnOldSinner – 2017

About S. Eric Jackson

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