A Witnessing Stress Reliever

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When I’m standing before a group talking to them about our ministry, I often observe an interesting phenomenon.  When I share what our ministry is doing and tell stories of how people are witnessing to Mormons, the audience is engaged. They are listening intently, nodding their heads in agreement, and in general giving off positive vibes.  But then when I begin encouraging them to personally witness to a Mormon, the demeanor of many changes.  Eye contact diminishes.  Instead of nods of agreement I see heads shaking with the clear message, “Not me”.

The worst part is that I know many of these people aren’t happy with themselves for reacting that way.  They know they should witness more but they aren’t.  So they feel guilty.

Can you identify with such feelings?  I know I can.  Growing up I was terrified at the thought of talking to others about Jesus.  And still today, there are times when I clam up when I should speak out.  When that happens it is not easy not to feel guilty.

But a number of years ago I saw something in the Bible that greatly helped take the stress out of witnessing.  That is the fact that almost always God speaks a wonderful promise in the same breath that he issues a command to witness.  Take the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19:  “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”  And then Jesus continues:  “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Or take Jesus’ statement in Acts 1 that his disciples will be his witnesses.  Before stating that he tells them:  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8).  These are two of many such examples.

Once I saw that and then applied that by focusing more on God’s promise of what he will do rather than on his command telling me what to do, the more stress-free and joyful my witness became.  It wasn’t difficult working up to a door in Provo when I pictured Jesus walking up with me.  But when I forgot that, the jitters arose and I started hoping that nobody would answer the door.

        Focusing more on God’s outreach promises, than on his outreach commands, is a wonderful witnessing stress reliever.

And what is so neat is that God gives those promises not just in connection with his outreach commands.  Many times he promises great growth without any mention of a command.  Here too there are many examples.  Let one suffice.  After comparing his word to the rain he says through the prophet Isaiah:  ‘(My word) will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (55:11).  Just think of it.  Every single time God’s word is used, He promises that it will be effective!   We can be confident that it will never be worthless to talk about our Savior.

        Focusing more on God’s outreach promises, than on his outreach commands, is a wonderful witnessing stress reliever.

Here’s a little exercise that you can do.  As you read the Bible, be on the alert for such promises.  Start compiling a list of them.  Regularly review that list especially as you think about witnessing to that family member, friend, or co-worker.  Focus on what God promises to do and you will discover that you won’t stress out about opening your mouth.  In fact, you will be eager to open it because you know God will be at work through you.

Happy witnessing!

Blog PostMark CaresComment