I’m a jogger. I enjoy the great outdoors as I ploddingly put one foot in front of the other in this way – moving, breathing, sweating, working my heart and enjoying the sights in slow motion as I traverse a route. When I take a jog close to home, it’s a familiar path. If I’m traveling and jogging in unfamiliar territory, my route will be guided by a ‘stream of consciousness’ strategy – go with it as long as I can remember how to get back to where I started from!
On occasion, I will jog on a track at a school near our home. Taking a jog on a track is something I enjoy – not so much for the variety or for the sights – but rather because it’s simple and easy to navigate.
Tracks are helpful and convenient not only in the realm of jogging, but in many areas of life. For example, if you’ve attended college, you had a curriculum – an academic track. Physical fitness routines are types of tracks – you have a set of exercises with repetitions and sets that you execute in order to accomplish your goal.
As we ponder speaking words of life in our personal testimony to others, it certainly would be easier if we were simply provided a track to run on – told what to say and when to say in any particular situation. Because knowing what to say and when to say it is so often a stumbling block for the believer. Yet, spiritual conversations are not so cut and dried. You see, as witnesses for Jesus, we are called to “walk by faith not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). In one sense, you might say faith-based conversations are like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna’ get.
And because of this reality, the words of our witness should be guided by the Holy Spirit, Who will give us the right words in the right time in the right situation.
As we aspire to speak words of life, remember –
we don’t follow a formula, we follow the Lord.
So trust in Him and fret not over the what and when of our words. For the Word of God provides us principles that will guide and encourage this specific area of our witness.
Principle #1 – Pray for the right words at the right time.
The Apostle Paul, in exhorting the church in Ephesus to put on the full armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20, concluded this section by asking for specific prayer:
“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”
– Ephesians 6:19
If Paul was asking other believers to pray for him in this way, it seems reasonable he also prayed for himself in like manner. To personally pray for this provision is God’s will, for He desires to give us the right words at the right time in any particular situation, that His name be glorified.
Principle #2 – The Lord will provide.
Yes, the Lord will provide. Jesus, instructing the disciples regarding their verbal testimony under extreme pressure, said:
“You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak.” – Matthew 10:18-19
Notice the Lord tells them “it will be given in that hour” what they should speak. You and I are typically not going to be under that kind of pressure to testify under intense trial. Yet if and when we are, the Lord will meet us at our point of need. In our everyday lives a more subtle pressure exists when an opportunity arises for us to talk about Jesus and our faith – will we open our mouths? For we know our spiritual enemy wants us to remain silent, as does our own flesh. This is why need to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16), trusting in the Lord, believing He’ll meet us at our point of need in our verbal witness.
God said He would be with Moses’ mouth (Exodus 4:12). And God said to Jeremiah, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth” (Jeremiah 1:9).
I have experienced moments when a witnessing encounter flowed and conversation occurred where I stood in awe at the power and provision of God, praising Him and thanking Him for giving me a word aptly spoken. And when those times happen, I could simply pause and think, “That was the Lord speaking through me, because I’m neither that smart nor that eloquent!” Can you relate?
Prepare, Pray, & Proclaim
As we strive to speak life in our discourse with others, our focus in this post has been to pray for and trust in God’s provision. Yet, this does not at all exclude our responsibility to also prepare to share – for we also are to “always be ready to give an account for the hope that lies within us” (1 Peter 3:15).
You see, preparing to share and walking by faith in our verbal witness are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they should go hand in hand.
We ought think through various evangelistic issues, pondering and praying about them as we engage them through a biblical prism. We also can learn from the example of Christian leaders who articulate well a verbal testimony in various contexts.
As we conclude, may we pray for open doors, open hearts, and open mouths (our own), as we desire to “proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
And as we pray expectantly, let us trust that the Lord will provide us the right words with the right spirit at the right time in the right situation. For we know that it is His will…that we speak life!
“A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” – Proverbs 15:23