(There is a special message at the end of this article for those who might happen to read this and do not have Jesus in their life and are looking for peace and a way to better understand the present-day insanity and confusion.)
At times, I seem to be walking (or perhaps limping now at 70) along with blinders on.
Much like a horse’s vision is limited by physical blinders, I find that my spiritual vision (situational awareness, if you will) has often been overly affected by “the world.”
So, what do I mean?
I mean that the influence we Christians have in terms of other people that we interact (I really don’t like that word) with, oftentimes, is not on our personal radar. We get up in the morning and rush off to (???) without a conscious thought as to what we are really doing everywhere we go. This does not, I acknowledge, apply to every Christian.
Well, firstly, I am relating this to myself as I am the only one who experiences this in the first person.
However, I suspect that most of us have had this same experience as well. It seems consistent with our nature as God’s created foible humans. Our focus is not necessarily where it first needs to be.
Over the years, in looking back over my life since I received Jesus, I realized that on several occasions, family members, people I worked with, friends, and acquaintances had come to me to share their concerns, problems, thoughts, etc., and to seek my opinion and advice.
The personal nature of a lot of these conversations always seemed to take me by surprise, especially when it was with a work-related acquaintance.
They are the ones that stick in my mind the most, as they were quite unexpected.
To be clear, I always tell people that “my opinion and two dollars will get you a small coffee at an Aroma Joe’s.”
I just don’t believe that I am all that wise and full of knowledge, and guess what? I am correct in that evaluation.
For a while, I thought it may have been because I was the oldest person at my workplace and my hair was quite gray. Perhaps they were connecting the gray hair with some sense of my opinion having some sort of intrinsic value or wisdom.
“The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head” (Proverbs 20:29).
Well, I don’t possess a whole lot of physical strength anymore, so I guess I’ll be happy with the “beauty” part.
After some of the more heartfelt conversations I had, it occurred to me (or the Holy Spirit was counseling me) why these men had come to me, and it was a very sobering and spiritual awakening.
It was because of my unverbalized, everyday Christian walk, which, in all reality, is really an ongoing witness.
This is true of all of us who belong to the Lord Jesus.
It was because they knew I had a personal (although I don’t think they understood it in that way) relationship with Jesus Christ, and it was reflected in my everyday conduct in the workplace.
I didn’t run around with a Bible in my hands or quote scripture and sing Hymns in the men’s room at the top of my voice. (My attempts to sing could be described as “the mating call of a woofaboomis.”) It just wouldn’t have had a positive effect.
It was much more subtle than that, and it went completely unnoticed by me, but apparently, my co-workers noticed it, as did others.
My language ceased to involve vulgarity, my reactions when a problem came up had become much more measured, and I was not interested in taking part in counterproductive “conversations,” crude joking, or gossip.
As I have since been blessed to understand more clearly, this same principle applies to us everywhere we go in the perception that people develop of us after we first make contact with them.
I will provide two examples where it became clear to me, after the fact, that my responses to these people were guided by our most blessed Holy Spirit. I know this because my responses were given with the love of Christ that I had already experienced in my life. They were quite beyond any ability to provide them on my own.
In one case, a young, married man came into my office one morning and sat across from me with a very serious and somber look on his face, which was not his normal demeanor. He told me his wife had told him that morning that she no longer wanted to be married. They had a charming little daughter as well, and that added to the seriousness of the situation.
She hadn’t said she no longer wanted to be married to HIM but that she no longer wanted to be married.
We talked for quite a while, and I considered what he had said as well as what he had not said. I then counseled him and recommended a few things for him to try.
It turned out well after a time, and he told me so. He never thanked me, but that was fine. I was very fond of this person and was very happy to know it had turned out well. The truly joyous part was that I was able to be of use both to him and to the Holy Spirit.
It was His wisdom that had made the entire difference (as is always the case).
In the second, a degree of boldness was required. Another co-worker asked me to pray with him over a very wrenching family problem he was having. This person had a very distressing habit of saying “jeezchrist” in almost every sentence he uttered. He had previously told me that he was “raised Catholic” and he “knew Jesus.” However, I struggled to reconcile that with the complete lack of conviction he should have felt by the Holy Spirit whenever he abused the Name of God.
I pulled his office door closed and said I would be pleased to pray with him and for him, but first, I had something I needed to mention.
I pointed out his continual misuse of the Name of Jesus and asked him if the God he was going to appeal to was the same One whose Name he misused so often.
This could have gone in any number of ways, of course, but instead of it going badly, he was startled and speechless! Finally, he said, “I really do that!” Yes, I told him, you really do.
We talked about it being a very bad habit and that the second commandment added a very sobering consequence for that conduct. I made it personal without making it “personal,” and here is the amazing and wonderful part.
I never heard him misuse the Name of Jesus again for the balance of the time we worked together.
We prayed together over his situation, and the Holy Spirit brought healing both to him and his daughter soon thereafter.
I can recall other occasions when I was aware that the indwelling Holy Spirit and the Love of Jesus drew people to seek my (His) counsel over the years.
It was all Him and none of me, and I rejoiced in it.
What I don’t know is how many other times my “visible” conduct had contributed to people being drawn to other Christians for the very same reasons, and the Spirit was able to work with them in His amazing way when He knew it was the “time.”
Iron sharpens iron, as my beloved brother John Chase frequently reminds me.
“As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).
Sadly, I also don’t know how many times I did not convey the Spirit of God to others when I was under the influence of my own sin nature and the ruler of this world in the weak moments of the flesh, or when I was too occupied with my own thoughts.
I have prayed for forgiveness for those times and His strength to overcome and carry on His mission in this life. I know He has answered me and enables me to be free of the burden of the times when I failed.
I read a book by Watchman Nee entitled The Normal Christian Life and found it to be a great resource to understand the principle of believing that when God forgives, He forgives. This, as He intended, is to enable us to move forward with Him.
Now, to the crux of this article.
We are oftentimes unaware of the “Invisible Witness” that we are in the way we live, speak, act and react to people and circumstances around us every single moment of every single day.
- How do we react when our food order is wrong?
- When the store is out of stock on that item we need (or think we need), how do we handle it?
- How do we react when someone is nasty or belligerent to us without provocation?
- Even more important, are we sure it really was without our provocation?
Both unsaved and even saved people are unconsciously observing us in every aspect of life. They may not even realize it, but it is nevertheless true.
Can they see a difference between us and the world?
The sobering part is they remember the negatives when they see them and are more apt to remember them, and evil uses that to great advantage.
We should not inadvertently offer unsaved people any more excuses to dismiss “religion” than they are already inundated with from every quarter in this world.
The unsaved do not understand the difference between “religion” and the “Relationship” they could have with Jesus Christ, and we should not allow our Christian witness to be compromised in the church or out in the world.
The best way, I have found, is to start off each day reading our Bibles and with some personal time and prayer with God Our Father. It doesn’t have to be long, but it needs to be sincere.
It starts us off with a valuable consciousness of God and His Love of others to take with us out into the world instead of an “errand, work, or worldly” focus to the start of the day.
It also serves to remind us that every person we see, no matter who that may be, is loved by God.
My brothers and sisters, we will stumble, and we will fail.
When we do, we must ask God to forgive us and set us back on our feet as only He can, so we can get back out there and continue our part in growing our forever family.
Isn’t it neat to know that when we run out to the store for milk, we could actually be delivering Bread?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The special message I promised you:
For anyone who may read this article and have not trusted in Jesus Christ and therefore has no hope or peace in your life.
You can have hope. You can have the peace that Jesus has promised to all who have made Him their Lord and Savior. The peace that passes understanding.
It requires that you come before God on His terms.
And, what are His terms according to His Word?
- Genuine repentance (turning to God instead of continuing to reject or ignore Him).
- Confession of sins (that you are a sinner and acknowledge that to God).
- That you understand that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
- To acknowledge to God that you are unable to pay that debt.
- Belief that Jesus Christ paid your death sentence for you on the cross.
- To believe that Jesus is the Way, the only Way, that God has established by which humans may be saved from the consequences of their sin and rebellion.
God has made it absolutely clear that there is no one who comes before Him, under His terms, that will be refused.
- No one: no race, no color, no country of origin, regardless of any previous belief system: no one.
- No matter what your past sins have been, God can and WILL forgive you because He says He will.
- Salvation is available to everyone without any exceptions.
If you put all your trust for salvation in Jesus, and Him only, you can follow that prayer up by simply saying, “Thank you, Father God, for hearing my prayer and saving me,” because we can trust Him to keep His Word. He always has. He always will.
“Truly, Truly, I say to you that he who hears My words and believes the One who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has crossed from death to life” (John 5:24).
There are no answers and there is no hope in the world by governments, organizations, politics or politicians. There are only lies and deception. But you can have the Truth and the peace you seek.
The answers are in the Word of God—The Bible. If you ask God, with all your heart, He will hear you.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
Pro Salvator Vigilans
To contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org