April 29, 2013

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ ” Romans 1:16-17

Conference TableI sit across his desk as I have done a thousand times.  For nearly 2 decades, my colleague and I have sat in these exact positions – working through business strategies, personnel conflicts, project staffing, client losses, and client awards; through times of determining bonuses and times of layoffs.

He is a man who I trust and care about. 

Once again as I sit in this familiar chair, the echoes of my prayers ring in my ears.  We prattle on about the renewing of the company healthcare benefits.  We dissect the advice of attorneys.  We wonder what it all means for the future of our little company.  We cover the mundane and the visionary but it is just Novocain to what I really want to talk about.

The topic that is of most importance in my heart never seems to have a place.  I have prayed for my friend since the day that I first met him.  I have had periods where through neglect he has slipped from my prayer time but he has been one of my most consistent prayers next to my family.

I know that as my faith has become more evident, our friendship has become more business.  I have felt the resistance to anything spiritual.

My friend’s preference is to keep his spiritual life on the basis of knowledge.  He cringes at the hard sell.  I have seen him harden every time a salesman has pushed for an immediate decision.  He is the type of man who takes a month to buy a sofa and a full day to finalize the purchase of a car.  Like all of his decisions, he wants to examine the presentations of the divine and determine truth through the logic of his own trusted mind.

I know this as I listen for any indication of an openness to discuss faith in our conversations.  It is an easy thing for an introverted man of self-control to prevent any such openings.  Therefore, I prayerfully wait for the appropriate time.

I wait and wonder if an opening will ever come.  Do I wait for God to create an opening?  Do I kick a crack open?  Do I lay the awkward question of salvation on the table and let the chips fall as they may?  I wonder if my hesitancy is unduly influenced by thoughts of myself; am I hesitant because I don’t want to be embarrassed?  Am I hesitant from a compassion that doesn’t want to see more walls erected to the truth of the gospel?

I know that the gospel has power.

I know that the Spirit draws and softens heart.

I know that salvation is not based on the perfect handling of the truths of Christ.

I know that my friend needs to believe upon the name of Jesus Christ because it is his only hope for it is the power of God for salvation.

I say that I care about him.  Do I care enough to be rejected?

I say I trust him.  Do I trust him enough to allow me to be heard?

I do not know the right answer. 

What I do know is that our God is gracious and merciful and that He wants all to come to His Son.  He wants my friend to be freed from his slavery to sin and rebellion against the one true God.  What I also know is that I am supposed to live in an unashamed and gentle manner.

For me, this means that I need to be intentional about living only one life.  I have a tendency to filter my conversations so that they won’t be offensive, awkward, or weird.  That usually means avoiding religion and politics.  The reality is that a gospel-oriented worldview will be weird and offensive to those who are lost.  I need to forget myself more completely and be the new creation that I am in Christ in gentleness and compassion.

I need to live an unfiltered life and acknowledge my Lord where I see Him regardless of who I am with; not to offend but to glorify God.  When I am walking in the Spirit, in an unashamed manner, without thoughts for myself, then the Spirit will give my words value beyond my thoughts for the precise moments that He has ordained.  God will faithfully use those who forget themselves and proclaim His good news.

May He bless the words given to my friend and draw him to Himself.

PRAYER: Father, I pray for my friend.  Draw him to yourself.  Soften his heart to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.  Lord, satisfy all the questions of his mind and give him the gift of faith.  Father, give me the boldness as you need from me.  Keep me from stepping out in my strength due to my impatience.  May the gentleness and compassion of your Spirit be evident in the words I speak with him.  Lord, I know that all things are possible for you; save my friend.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.


  1. Amen

  2. Late in reading this, but want to share something that just happened today. My husband and I were at Costco picking up some trees which required pulling up front to load. I went back to pick up something I remembered and when I got back to the truck my husband was helping an older woman secure large fencing panels for a dog kennel to the roof of her car. She was completely helpless to do this on her own. She had called Costco and they had assured her that they would help her load the item, but once there she found they wouldn’t aid in securing the item. The whole time my husband helped this woman, 2 couples stood nearby talking about the Christian Retreat they had just been on, loudly Praising God for this and that. None of them offered any assistance to this woman or my husband.
    Your friend seeing how you live your life and the authentic way you minister to those around you will speak louder than any words you might be able to insert into a conversation. When the time comes, he’ll have the visual of your life to back the invitation to eternity. Be encouraged.

  3. I know that tension well. It’s hard to pray for teachable moments as they mostly come through pain. Like you I just find myself committing it all to God and hope I am sensitive to the leading of the Spirit. Thanks for the honest approach.

  4. “I need to forget myself more completely and be the new creation that I am in Christ in gentleness and compassion.” Wise words, JD. You echoed my own thoughts, hopes, prayers, and insecurities when seeking to witness to friends. Thank you for your honesty, and the prayer at the end, which expresses so well what we desire God to do.

  5. I hope you are not ashamed. I follow this practice: I believe that I can say anything to another person when the time is right. God provides those times so I need to watch for them. When the time arrives, I say something to the other person specifically. If the time does not arrive, it might mean that I am not the person to try to bring the other person to the Lord. I am OK with that.

    Continue praying for your friend that he find the Lord…in whatever means it takes to get him to God. Be open to another person’s doing “your” job. I find that hard to do myself, but I know that I am not able to help everyone to God.

  6. […] “ASHAMED OR PATIENT” – April 29. […]

  7. I will pray!

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