Witnessing: Divine appointments

medium_wooden_cross.jpgWitnessing is a series of Divine appointments.

Jesus didn't just happen to come across people - the Father sent Him to those people.

In His normal, everyday life, Jesus just kept His eyes and ears open for the Father's leading. He did what He saw the Father doing (in the Spirit), and said what He heard the Father saying (also in the Spirit). Jesus said so Himself: (See John 5:19; John 14:10).

Jesus did what He saw the Father doing around where Jesus was going. He spoke the words the Father was speaking into His spirit. The only way to see what the Father is doing, and what He is saying, is to see and hear those things in the Holy Spirit, since such things can only be spiritually discerned. Why? Because "the natural man does not receive the things of God" (1 Corinthians 2:14). Thus we can conclude that, unless the Holy Spirit reveals a thing, a natural man (one who is not born again) cannot understand what God is either saying or doing. 

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, what God does on the outside can first be seen on the inside. As they began their ministries after Jesus' death, the disciples followed Jesus' example to, through the Holy Spirit, hear God and to do what they saw Him doing as they went about their normal lives.

Example: "But Peter said, "Silver and gold have I none, but what I have, that I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!" (Acts 3:1-6). The Amplified Bibile says Peter "directed his gaze intently at him, and so did John." The Common English Bible says: "Peter and John stared at him". Why were they "staring" at the man "intently"? They were trying to see, through the Holy Spirit, if God wanted to do anything for this crippled man. Brought to that man by the Holy Spirit, they were focusing their spiritual eyes and ears on him as they listened and watched for a sign of what to say or do from the Holy Spirit's counsel.
Here's a question for Christians: Do we just glance at people as we go through our ordinary lives, or do we allow the Holy Sprit to show people's needs through God's eyes? If we allow God to speak and show us what He wants to do, we must go from "glancing" to "seeing." But not with our ears and eyes in the natural man. We see and hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. It is not us who does the works, but God within us.
Another example: Acts 14:8-10 (Paul and the cripple from Lystra). Paul "gazes intently" upon the crippled man and "perceives" the man had faith to be healed. How did he know that? The Holy Spirit, whom Paul was listening to, and watching for, told him it was so). It is also clear that God's intent was to heal the man, or he would not have given Paul the perception the man had faith to be healed.
So, we can also see that God is always looking for ways to meet needs and show that He is God to those who need Him. It was so in Jesus' day; it is so today.

One last observation: Jesus never forced an encounter - He was led to it by the Spirit. It was true also of His disciples, and it is still true in this day and age.

Don't force an encounter with non-Christians out of a sense of duty, or speak to them with a script your've composed beforehand that is suitable "for the masses." Christian serve a personal God, and God treats us as such. Even the unsaved are treated by God as individuals. He will guide us to those to whom He wants to show Himself mighty so that He can minister to them through us. Each enounter is as personal as the individual for whom it is meant.

Christians need not make witnessing to the unchurched a chore or something to be scripted or dreaded. That's not the example Christ set for us. Each Christian must walk through their daily lives keeping their eyes and ears open for any prompting of the Holy Spirit to minister to the needs of a hurting person that God wants to help. Witnessing should be as easy, and as natural, as breathing. And we should be ready at any time for the Holy Spirit's promptings (1 Peter 3:15).

That's the way to witness effectively