THE LISTENING WITNESS
I re-learned something wonderful these past few days that I would like to share with you. It has to do with “witnessing” and the wonder of being still and resting in Christ. It is the way that I can be sure that I am truly witnessing for Christ, when I am not there and His love fills me. His love, that agape love for all, that feeling of being filled to the brim with Him.
I guess what I am getting at is, I have re-learned what an awesome tool for witnessing is the art of listening. I recall when I was first ‘born again’, that moment when I became a “new creature”…that moment, that no other moment compares to in this life; I was filled with Him and I became a listener. I only wanted to listen to Him, and in turn was able to truly listen to others.
In this busy work a day 24/7 whirlwind of a world, where everyone wants attention and everyone wants to talk, it is so very rare to meet someone who really listens. When we think of what being a witness means, we usually think of someone preaching the Gospel to others, reciting Scripture, teaching and reaching the lost. It just dawned on me today, that how listening is the key to open the door to speak about the Gospel and often times the listener doesn’t even have to speak.
A really great example of this is found in a wonderful book entitled “The Listener” by Taylor Caldwell. I read this book ages ago, but it has had such an impact on me in regards to listening as witnessing.
As I recall, the Listener is a statue of Christ that sits in a chapel and people come and rest on a bench nearby. The book tells the story of several people who sit and tell their life stories to this statue, and in doing so, truly come to the Lord. It is such a beautiful book, I am not doing it justice in my description, but hope I am getting my point across.
By resting so completely in Him, and by this I mean giving Him every moment of our life and every thought about our life, we are able to witness of Him by just being there in whatever situation that He puts us in, as He is there also. Then, it just becomes a matter of His presence within us; that presence that is always working and is about His Father’s business. Almost everything and everyone reacts to His presence, it is so irresistible, and as such, people are drawn to Him.
To me personally, I am learning that the only work that is required to be a witness to others about our most wonderful Lord, is to to give all to Him, all our fears and worries about everything!! Resting assured that it is in His hands, having total faith that it is, and knowing that no matter what happens, if we are truly doing this, that everything will work for our good.
It is ironic that doing this requires ” not doing”, yet also being able to accomplish all things through Him. It is the non-action that allows for action and right doing. And right doing, and keeping His commandments, is letting Him work in and through us. The hard part of this “not doing” is the death of self, this is the struggle we all have and the one we will continue to face until we are like Him, when we see Him.
It is “love in action” that is the best witness for the Lord. Whether through a kind word, a smile, a touch, or heartfelt listening, all are drawn to Him and it is that being in “His presence” that brings lost sheep to Himself. We do no work in this process, as it is not about us, and what we know or don’t know. This is why Jesus sent us the Comforter, the Spirit we rest in while He works on, in and through us.
I see it work in my own life, and I am so grateful for those times when I am able to do this non-doing. The love that fills me just has to be shared, and it is the agape love that spills out of one when Christ is doing the work. Able to silence my own voice I am able to listen to others, and when that happens, all things are possible.
I know this sounds strange, but I am confident that this truth resonates in every born again Christian heart. You know what this is, you know this is how He wants you to witness for Him because you were given this information in that instant of being born again. You were raptured and set free, to be filled with His love and light, when you picked up your cross and crucified your “self”, and were born again from above.
God is the Lord that resides in hearts, and Satan is a lord that resides in minds. It is when this mind takes over the heart and is sitting in the temple of God, where it should not be, that one is lost. We cannot serve two masters, we must render onto God what is God’s…our heart, our temple, before we will have the mind of Christ. If one’s mind is ruling their life, then the heart becomes the servant of the Mind. This is backward, as a servant is never above the Master!
Our minds (flesh) must be our servant, and our heart (Spirit) must be our Master. The antichrist resides in all of us, but rules in every life not given to God. It runs the world through these millions and millions of people who have mind as god over the Spirit. The intellect must be sub servant to the Spirit, or one is lost. One cannot have the “mind of Christ” without totally surrendering their hearts.
Spirit must be Master over the flesh, and mind is of the flesh if not renewed in Christ.
With all the fear and worry coming at us from every corner of our lives in this world, with evil living inside so many and surrounding others, with the whole of the earth being poisoned and dying, we are to stop, and rest in Him. He will take care of us as we take care of others by being a witness of His presence in our lives. He will draw all His lost sheep to Himself and He uses those who live in Him and rest in Him. The words of witness will come as each situation dictates, just as He told us they will. He told us not to worry what to say as He will give voice to what needs to be said.
Especially now! When we followers of Christ are under so much pressure!! We feel we should be doing something, something meaningful and important in order to win souls for Jesus! When in all truth, He wants us to rest, as it is time for us to rest entirely and completely in Him, not to worry about our own works. He does not want us to work for Him, He wants to work through us as the vine fills the branches. He is the only one producing fruit, we cannot do this on our own.
Doing something in His name, has not the impact of Him doing something in His name. That is the difference in those who call Him Lord, and do miracles and signs and wonders in His name, but he knows them not; and those who have sacrificed themselves and He lives in them and does His work through them.
We are to come out of Babylon, and this means come out of the flesh centered world and into the Spirit centered realm. This is a personal journey on all levels of our being. And we need not pack a bag and move anywhere else to accomplish this. We need to do it right where He has us, to witness to those who are around us, everyday in every way. There is no escaping this world, or being rescued from it, there is only dying to it, and being reborn.
All this inner struggle, battles and wars are being played out all around us is reflecting how much the world is living inside of millions and millions of souls without Christ! The Wide Way seems to be winning, and we are running out of time! Satan has been loosed and we are being gathered to the great day of battle. This battle that goes on inside of every man and has been spilling into the streets of this world and taking over this earth since the Fall in the Garden.
Of course, the Lord knows what this struggle is and how it is magnified in this time of the fullness of all things. Maybe that is why the New Covenant commandments are summed up in love. The act of loving God, and then loving others as ourselves. If we are truly in Christ we love the Lord as Christ loved His Father, and we love others as if they are also Christ! The absolute only way to do this is to be in Him and Him in us.
This all brings me back to the topic of listening as witnessing. It is the very best we can do where He has us at this time, and wherever He may send us in the future. It isn’t about hating the world and avoiding those He sends to us, it is about loving and believing in the midst of the chaos of this life, and about how much of ourselves we give to Him.
It is about becoming love, not just giving it or receiving it. God is love and love attracts all to itself, and all darkness is overcome with light…His light. And His light can shine anywhere.
May we all become good listeners, listening to the Lord, and each other, as we share the love the Father has for the Son, that the Son has imparted to us though the Holy Spirit.
I did a great deal of talking to try and convey this message about listening! Words seem so feeble at times when trying to convey spiritual things. Forgive me for having to use so many of them to state something so simple and pure.
JESUS IS ALL AND EVERYTHING!!