Be Ready To Give An Answer
Study To Show Thyself Approved
By Curt Wildy
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
(2 Timothy 3:12).
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and [in his] Father’s, and of the holy angels
Think back to a time when you successfully discussed a difficult matter and actually convinced the other side that you were right. In all likelihood, you were:
- Passionate about the subject;
- Knowledgeable about the subject;
- Confident, to some degree, in your ability to explain the matter; and/or
- Better prepared than the other person to discuss the issue.
We are called to be faithful witnesses and to “sanctify the Lord God in [our] hearts: and [to be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh [us] a reason of the hope that is in [us] with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15).” Although we cannot win the point when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel (we cannot talk someone into being born from above), we can put forth powerful arguments, as God enables, that will answer the questions of the curious and put to shame the reasonings of the naysayers.
Consider Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue [that] shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This [is] the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [is] of me, saith the LORD.” This verse has broader implications, but the application to witnessing stands. The verbal weapons of the enemy, their carnal arguments, cannot prosper against the Light of scriptural testimony; likewise, if we are knowledgeable and comfortable with the word of God, then every tongue that rises up against us shall be condemned and put to shame as we profess the Truth. Lies cannot stand in the face of Scripture when it is clearly, accurately, and boldly proclaimed.
Being Strong In The Lord And In The Power Of His Might.
The first necessity for a powerful witness involves resting in the power of God’s might. If we study to see Him as the Lord of Heaven and Earth (as the God who purposes all things, ordains all things, brings about all things, and controls all things), then we will begin to feel less uncomfortable when speaking on spiritual matters. We must remember that we are not able to fight this battle alone, nor are we able to fight it in our own strength; it is impossible for us to do so, our role is to fulfil the role that He has ordained for us to fulfil. We should strive to keep in mind that:
We witness precisely when God, from old, has ordained that we shall witness;
We word it precisely how God, from old, has purposed that we shall word it; and
- Others react in the precise manner that God, from old, has decreed that they shall react (whether positively or negatively).
Every scenario (every thought, word, action, and reaction) is completely of the Lord; you are simply walking in the steps that God has, from eternity, prepared for you to walk in. Any desire you have to faithfully witness, and any witness that you put forth, is a direct result of God working in you both to will and do of His good pleasure.
Included in God’s eternal purpose is any manifestation of our natural fear and timidity; if we are too nervous or embarrassed to speak up, it is our own sin, but it is God who has decreed that it should arise at that particular time. He does not give us the spirit of timidity, we have it already by nature, but He will use that sin to make us all the more sick of it and of our selves. When He brings us through weeks, months, years, or perhaps even decades of being too soft-spoken, fearful, or shy, He will also begin to give us a powerful disdain for our lack of godly courage. We will begin to cry out to Him all the more for boldness and spiritual valour. He will, to one degree or another, grant us that courage and cause us to see that it is all of Him. At that point, we will begin to wax stronger and stronger in Him (to the measure that He has given us) and we will rely less and less on our own natural strength.
Note that some Christians are naturally bold, being so from before their regeneration, but this is not the spiritual courage that comes from God; such carnal boldness can often lead to rashness and needless contention. Holy Spirit-wrought courage causes us to trust less in self and more in God, and is accompanied by the fruit of the Spirit.
The Means That God Has Provided
Ephesians 6:17 teaches us that the sword of the Spirit is the word of God. The sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon. If you fight against a skilled swordsman, having never picked up a sword, how apt will you be at successfully defending yourself or scoring the winning blow? Not very. However, the more you practice with the sword, the more skillful you will become. We ought to practice daily for many reasons; one clear one being the skilfulness of our enemies (the devil and his minions) when it comes to twisting the word of God.
In the Old Testament we see that God is the one who gave victory to Israel over their enemies. Though victory is of the Lord, the Israelites still practiced their martial skills. They still trained on the proper use of armour, shield, and weaponry; they went out to battle arrayed with such. Just because God Himself ordains and works out our conquests does not mean that He does it outside of the use of means. God often works through men and women to carry out His purpose. There is no lack of trust in God simply because we seek to use earthly means to become more familiar with His word. Read the rest of this entry »