Daily Devotional for Saturday July 8, 2006

Challenging what Men and Women of God have to Say ? Challenging what You Say You Believe

(1 Peter 3:15)

Witnessing our faith to others is probably the most important thing we have been COMMANDED to do?not suggested to do?in which we often fail. The reason is simple. We are afraid of how the person we witness to will react. Will they be mad? Will they be offended? Will they get physically violent? WILL THEY CHALLENGE WHAT WE TELL THEM?

BINGO! That my friend, is the number one reason we don?t witness like we should. We are actually petrified that we will be challenged and forced to actually explain why we believe what we say we believe. Don?t feel bad, because the fact is a large percentage of pastors, church leaders, conference speakers, teachers, evangelists and those who run Christian ministries are equally as timid in sharing their faith in Christ because they are never challenged nor forced to defend their faith!

Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you were in a church service, the pastor was preaching, and someone in the congregation stood up and challenged something he just said? How about the last time you were at some conference. There is an auditorium full of people and in the middle of the message, someone stood up and asked the speaker to explain what they meant. How about when you attended a great crusade with tens of thousands of people. As the evangelist is going through the message, someone came to the front and tells the evangelist he is wrong about what he just said. Have you EVER seen this happen?

I am not suggesting that people be rude or disrespectful. The point I am making, however, is that pastors, conference speakers, teachers, evangelists, those you see on t.v. or hear on radio, are allowed to speak and say whatever they want without ever being confronted or challenged. In many churches, the pastor shows up on Sunday morning, enters the building through a special entrance, goes into his office surrounded only by a few of his staff, enters the sanctuary through a special door by the podium, climbs into the pulpit and delivers his sermon, exits the sanctuary through that special door, goes back to his office, leaves the building through the same special entrance he came in by, and is gone. Even if there is interaction with the people, it is rarely not confrontational nor does anyone question anything he said in his sermon.

When you are dealing with conference speakers, teachers, evangelists, leaders of Christian ministries, those who are on t.v. or the radio, their interaction with the people is even less. It is like going to a rock concert. The lights are turned off, the stage lights come on, and all of a sudden the ?star? appears on stage. They ?perform? and then are gone. No contact with the people, never challenged regarding anything they say, they just ?appear,? ?perform,? and ?disappear.? Because so many of these people spend their entire lives in the ?Christian trough,? having no real contact with the world outside of the church, they could go their entire ministry without EVER being challenged on ANYTHING they say!

One of the reasons pastors, conference speakers, teachers, evangelists, ministry leaders are satisfied to stay within the ?trough? is because they never have to be challenged in what they say or in what they believe. This is also true of most Christians. The reason most people don?t share their faith with their unsaved family members, their friends, their neighbors, those they work with or go to school with is because they really don?t want to be challenged in what they say or believe. This is not only a violation of God?s Word, but keeps you from growing in your faith since it is through having to share your faith, being challenged in what you believe, that you grow and become 100% confident in what you SAY you believe in.

I am not talking about being obnoxious and getting into arguments with everyone you meet. I am simply talking about sharing your faith in Christ and being prepared for people to challenge you, forcing you to actually articulate what you believe. In witnessing to those who deny Christ, deny the Bible, even deny God, I allow the person to speak. Rather than argue with them, I keep asking them questions about their beliefs, forcing them to have to articulate what they really believe. After you get past their ?talking points? on why they don?t believe, they are usually lost when they have to explain why they reject Christ, the Bible, and even God. That is the beauty of the Christian faith. Our faith makes sense, logical sense, and is easy for someone to understand even if they don?t accept it.

The Bible tells us to, ?Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.? ? (1 Peter 3:15) Don?t ever be afraid of being challenged regarding your faith, look forward to it. When you have to explain your faith, it forces you to solidify in your own heart and mind exactly what you believe. It will force you to actually dig into the Word of God and find out what God says, not what you ?feel? about an issue. The end result is that you begin to have a new appreciation for God?s inspired, inerrant Word, that represents absolute truth and is our final authority in all matters. YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO REALLY BELIEVE WHAT YOU SAY YOU BELIEVE TO DEFEND IT!!!

I can assure you as someone who writes daily to a worldwide audience of over 2-million people, over 1/3 of those people not Believers, as someone who 5 nights a week takes phone calls unscreened and ?live? on a t.v. program broadcast only on secular stations with an audience that is 95% non-Christian, you better not only know what you believe but be able to articulate it and support it with the authority of God?s Word or you will be eaten alive. It forces me to stay in God?s Word and on my knees daily seeking His wisdom. As I sit here typing these words today, I know, that I know, that I know, that I know. Despite the enemy and his lies, there is not one ounce of doubt in my heart and mind that ALL of God?s Word is true exactly as He wrote it and JESUS IS LORD!

I love you and care about you so much. I will be praying, today, for those pastors, as well as conference speakers, teachers, evangelists, and those in leadership in Christian ministries to make it a point to find opportunities to share your faith with those who are lost, outside of the church, people who don?t know who you are, as a way of not only fulfilling what God has called all of His children to do, but to test and sharpen your faith in Christ. I will be praying for all of you who know Christ as your Savior to become more bold in sharing your faith in Christ with those people God has placed in your life who are without hope and lost in their sin. In sharing your faith with others, in being confronted and challenged, it will force you to take a real stand for the Lord and for the Truth of God?s Word.