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Posts Tagged ‘Witnessing for Christ’


I’m close to half way with Unholy Seduction. Here’s an excerpt:

My enlightenment came with a heavy price, as each of his words sank deep within my heart, disillusioning me in the process. By the time our conversation ended twenty minutes later, my spirit was broken. I had left Believer’s Crusade emotionally—never to return. It was no longer even a consideration. My life’s purpose had been dismantled in one, thirty-minute phone call.

Being young, I had no idea how difficult it would be to find a renewed sense of purpose. Such thoughts were too lofty for me and never entered my mind.

Devastated and appalled, in one day, I went from being a Crusader to being an anti-Crusader, with equal fervor. Embittered by what I had learned, like my mentor, I began throwing stones at Crusade, as well as organized religion in general. I called dozens of friends nationwide in the days that followed. When I informed each about what had happened, they abandoned Crusade as well.

The ministry, which had enjoyed yearly growth since its inception, experienced a significant dip that year. Nevertheless, Crusade never acknowledged its duplicity. Instead, it doubled down on its deception. Nearly a half a century later, there are millions who continue to believe in the Miracle of Escondido—a miracle that never occurred.

For a while, a long while, bitterness consumed me. I had trusted Crusade and Hixson’s leadership completely, so the wounds produced by Jonathan’s revelation nestled deep within my soul, taking firm grip. I was angry. My sense of fairness had been offended—big time.

I also lost a great deal of respect for Jonathan, who only divulged the truth when it served his purpose to do so. I felt like he had betrayed me as well—at least somewhat. The discovery, coupled with having to be disingenuous with people like Governor Maddox, just to survive, made me question everything I was doing. By not repudiating the Governor’s distorted worldview, choosing instead to take his money, I had also been deceptive.

Having to admit this to myself was a difficult, but it was the truth. I came to the conclusion that I could never live like this again, which meant I would have to alter my career path dramatically.

Almighty God never honors duplicity. How could He? My life’s purpose had been shaken, and everything concerning it came crashing to the ground, shattering my carefully constructed reality. What I didn’t understand at the time was how difficult it would be to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

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Refer to Step 11:I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

 

 

Half the harm that is done in this world

Is due to people who want to feel important.

They don’t mean to do harm—

But the harm does not interest them. . .

They are absorbed in the endless struggle

To think well of themselves.

 

—T. S. Eliot

 

It’s time that we step out of the gray drab existence of multi-culturalism and political correctness for fear of offending someone or our desire to be liked. We must stand for the One who declares Himself to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We must never forget where we’ve come from—out of the darkness into the light.

“Witnessing” to people with a watered-down version of who Christ is seems to be of little value, yielding poor fruit. Neither does filling churches with large numbers of people who have marginal beliefs—other than their desire to instill “good values” into their children, while increasing their business networking efforts. It doesn’t work well—never has and never will.

In America, the problem is much deeper for believers. The fire is nearly out—the fire for being Christ-like—the fire for being loving, giving, and generous, for bearing one another’s burdens, and for expecting nothing in return. It’s been replaced by fire in the loins—from pastors addicted to pornography to adulterous church members by the millions. We act like the world and expect God to bless us because we’re His Bride—allegedly, without spot or wrinkle.

For many, God has become a blessing machine, a higher power that dispenses material rewards for marginal behavior—just because He’s a nice guy. We’re lukewarm at best and expect God to reward mediocrity with prosperity. We pursue the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life, expecting God to be satisfied with us. Collectively, we’ve lost our fear of Him, especially our leaders who are more interested in notoriety than service. Selflessly helping others has lost its appeal, but it never loses its appeal God, as anyone practicing recovery will attest.

 

 

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. (Revelation 3:15-17)

Jack Watts

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Our Lukewarm Generation

 

Refer to STEP 11:I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

 

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

—Helen Keller

 

In 1776, at the time of the American Revolution, how many people do you think were church member—members not attendees?

  • 5 percent
  • 25 percent
  • 35 percent
  • 55 percent
  • 75 percent

Before you answer, think about that generation of Christians for a moment. These early Christians influenced the founding of this nation and the Constitution that established the laws of the land. In many ways, we still live in the wake of their blessing a dozen generations later. Their influence has been that powerful.

Currently, more than 50 percent of Americans are church members, and our influence is pitifully weak—not just politically, but in service to our nation and to the world. If 50 percent can’t get the job done today, it must have taken 75 percent in the late-18th century, right?

Well, not exactly.

If you guessed 5 percent were church members, you were correct. That’s right, just one out of twenty, but being a believer in that era was far different than it is today. Those early Americans were strong, resilient men and women, whose faith impacted every aspect of their lives. In their era, making disciples was the emphasis—not evangelism.

In our generation, the emphasis is getting thousands of marginal believers to say they are members, and there is practically no emphasis on making them strong men and women, filled with knowledge and estimable character qualities. This shift in balance has weakened our impact upon society dramatically—much like Common Core has downsized educational excellence.

Christians in the 21st century like to blame Progressives, liberals and political correctness for the state of affairs, without taking a hard look at themselves. What has changed is the quality of Christians. We have dumbed down, while telling ourselves we are okay—worst of all, we believe it.

 

 

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and in earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end if the age (Matthew 28:18b-20).

Jack Watts

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Love One Another—No Matter What

 

 

Refer to Step 10:I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

 

Loving-kindness is greater than laws; and the charities of life are more than all ceremonies.

—Talmud

 

Honestly, in our society, there’s no way to tell a Christian from a non-Christian, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. The Scriptures say that you can “tell them by their love for one another,” meaning that love for one another should be clearly evident. But it isn’t, is it? And there’s no use pretending that this true, when it isn’t. In fact, the opposite is frequently the case.

Loving one another is not only important; it’s the key to attracting others—not doctrine, not church membership, and not any outward dogmatic manifestation of your faith. Loving one another is how you should differentiate between believers and non-believers. The Scriptures say that it’s by your behavior—the condition of your heart—that reveals who you really are. It’s as clear as the Ten Commandments.

That this characteristic is missing is undeniable, and it’s a far more powerful witness to the world than any promotion a church can muster to generate enthusiasm. If you are demonstrating love, you are projecting a good witness. If you say that you have a loving spirit, but it’s not true, that will also leave a lasting witness—one that carefully prepared testimonials cannot counteract. This means you are making an impression no matter what you are doing.

If demonstrable love isn’t present, your witness is actually counterproductive. It’s why millions call Christians hypocrites, which is an accurate assessment more often than not. Because God has shown His love and mercy toward you, it’s natural that you would want to tell others about it. At the same time, if love is not the primary characteristic in your heart, don’t be surprised if your attempts at witnessing ring hollow or actually turn people off.

 

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. (I Peter 1:22)

Jack Watts

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Love One Another—No Matter What

 

Refer to Step 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

Loving-kindness is greater than laws; and the charities of life are more than all ceremonies.

—Talmud

In our society, there’s no way to tell a Christian from a non-Christian, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. The Scriptures say that you can “tell them by their love for one another,” meaning that love for one another should be clearly evident. But it isn’t, is it? And there’s no use pretending that it’s true, when it’s not. In fact, the opposite is frequently the case.

Loving one another is not only important; it’s the key to attracting others—not doctrine, not church membership, and not any outward dogmatic manifestation of your faith. Loving one another is how you should differentiate between believers and non-believers. The Scriptures say that it’s by your behavior—the condition of your heart—that reveals who you really are. It’s as clear as the Ten Commandments.

That this characteristic is missing is undeniable, and it’s a far more powerful witness to the world than any promotion a church can muster to generate enthusiasm. If you are demonstrating love, you are projecting a good witness. If you say that you have a loving spirit, but it isn’t true, this will also leave a lasting impact—one your carefully prepared testimonials cannot counteract.

This means that you are making an impression no matter what you are doing. If demonstrable love isn’t present, your witness is actually counterproductive. It’s why millions call Christians hypocrites, which is an accurate assessment more often than not.

Because God has shown His love and mercy toward you, it’s natural that you would want to tell others about it. At the same time, if love is not the primary characteristic in your heart, don’t be surprised if your attempts to witness ring hollow or actually turn others off.

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. (I Peter 1:22)

Jack Watts

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Refer to Step 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

Loving-kindness is greater than laws; and the charities of life are more than all ceremonies.

—Talmud

Honestly, in our society, there’s no way to tell a Christian from a non-Christian, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. The Scriptures say that you can “tell them by their love for one another,” meaning that love for one another should be clearly evident. But that isn’t necessarily the case, is it? There’s no use pretending that it’s true, when it’s not. In fact, the opposite is frequently the case.

Loving one another is not only important; it’s the key to attracting others—not doctrine, not church membership, and not any outward dogmatic manifestation of your faith. Loving one another is how believers and non-believers should be differentiated. The Scriptures say it is by your behavior—the condition of your heart—that reveals who you really are. It’s as clear as the Ten Commandments.

That this characteristic is missing is undeniable, and it’s a far more powerful witness to the world than any promotion a church can muster to generate enthusiasm. If you are demonstrating love, you are projecting a good witness. If you say you have a loving spirit, but it’s not true, that will also leave a lasting witness, which carefully prepared testimonials cannot counteract.

This means you are making an impression no matter what you are doing. If demonstrable love isn’t present, your witness is actually counterproductive. It’s why millions call Christians hypocrites, which is an accurate assessment more often than not.

Because God has shown His love and mercy toward you, it’s natural that you would want to tell others about it. At the same time, if love is not the primary characteristic in your heart, don’t be surprised if your attempts at witnessing ring hollow or actually turn people off.

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. (I Peter 1:22)

Jack Watts   My Story

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Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us daily.

—Sally Koch

As a child of God, you are only expected to lift Him up—not push Him. Nothing more. That’s our entire responsibility. Isn’t it freeing just to read this and take it in, knowing that it’s okay to just be yourself?

I can’t save a person any more than I can damn them. Neither can you. We don’t have anything to do with it. We don’t have a vote in the matter—never have, never will. Those decisions are left up to God—where they belong. If that’s true—and it is; then, what is our part in the process?

It’s to lift up Christ, which we do every time we act out of the nature He has imparted to us, rather than out of our own, self-serving natures. If I act out of my own best interest and nothing more, I miss an opportunity to lift Him up. When I am Christ-like, I display love, joy, peace, and the rest of the fruit of God’s Spirit.

When I suffer for the Lord, I’m also lifting Him up. When I choose His way over materialism, I’m lifting Him up. When I’m kind, expecting nothing in return, I’m lifting Him up.

When I seek my own way, I’m not. The greatest problem comes when we deceive ourselves into believing our will is God’s will, and we press for it at the expense of others. It doesn’t work, and it manifests a poor witness for Christ.

Being Christ-like works; nothing else does. It draws people to the Lord much more effectively than a three-minute testimony from a stranger. The former is genuine, while the latter is little more than an infomercial—something contrived, forced, and disingenuous—something that never delivers what it promises.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)

Jack Watts   Resources to Help

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Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

 

We are not here to dictate to God; we are here to submit to His will so that He may work through us what He wants. When we realize this, He will make us broken bread and poured-out wine to feed and nourish others.

—Oswald Chambers

Many people retreat to God because they don’t want to face challenges; they don’t want to muddle through life’s difficult situations. They want pat, simplistic answers for everything and a life free from conflict—free from the negative consequences, stemming from their poor decisions. They want a cosmic bailout.

They also want God to be a constant, perpetual blessing machine. They want Him to indulge them with creature comforts as a sign that He loves them—as a sign that they are favored. Materialism and the acquisition of “things” validates their standing with God, providing positive proof that they are living life as it was meant to be lived.

Churches validate this mindset routinely by elevating successful businessmen to leadership roles to the exclusion of all others—except for doctors and lawyers, of course. According to this way of thinking, above all else, God wants His people to enjoy creature comforts—lots of them, which success in business ensures.

Christians with this worldview give lip service to loving and caring for others, when in reality, their existence and purpose for life is all about themselves. In their superficiality, they believe they are profound, as they blissfully go about their lives doing whatever benefits them, with little care for others.

Pursuing an alternative purpose, which is at cross-purposes with materialism, never enters their mind. If it did, it would be no more than a fleeting thought—like the emotional response from watching an uplifting movie. It might touch them for a short while, but that’s all. It has no transforming impact. In their lethargy, Christians like these assume little responsibility for the state of the world or for the depraved condition of mankind—spiritually, morally, or materially. For your recovery to be long lasting, your must make caring for others part of your life—a substantial part.

Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Jack Watts   Recommended Resources

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Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

 

Contemplation must bring forth right action in order to permit further growth.

—Robert A. Heinlein

Regardless of what you say or how persuasive you might be, it’s what you do that speaks volumes about who you really are.

In your recovery, doing God’s will is your responsibility—not just talking about it. At the same time, it’s important to realize you are not God, and He is perfectly capable of being God without your help. He’s responsible for drawing people to Himself—not you. When you try and make God’s responsibility yours, it doesn’t work. All hell breaks loose, instead.

Pushing Jesus, regardless of how noble your intention may be, ultimately produces alienation. Attraction works—promotion doesn’t. Lifting up the Lord is not promotion. Lifting Him up draws people to Him, which leads others to a restored life.

If you care for your fellow man; if you have compassion for abused people—for those caught in addiction, despair, and acting-out behavior; if you routinely display the fruit of the Spirit; you are doing God’s will. By loving others selflessly, you are a witness every day of your life—whether you utter a word or not. You just don’t realize it most of the time.

If your walk with the Lord is marginal, if your beliefs are not well thought out, and if you are unwilling to have your faith challenged, your witness is weak, and the fruit you produce will not be bitter and not sweet. That’s why most people in recovery need to work on the fundamentals—walking in God’s leading and learning to love one another from the heart. It’s a strategy that works every time.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Jack Watts   Recommended Resources

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Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.

—Lucy Larcom

Anything you can do as a believer to show the importance of God’s Son in your life is your responsibility. When you do, it’s His responsibility to draw men and women to Him—not yours. Lifting up Christ is not promoting Jesus. Lifting Him up draws people to God, which leads to salvation. Pushing Him, regardless of how noble your intentions may be, leads to alienation. It simply doesn’t work.

If you care for your fellow man; if you have compassion for those caught in addiction, despair, or any other acting-out behavior; if you routinely display the fruit of the Spirit; you are doing what you’re called to do. By loving others selflessly, you are a witness every day of your life—whether you say anything or not. You just don’t realize it most of the time.

If your walk with the Lord is shallow, if your beliefs are simplistic, and if you are unwilling to have your faith challenged or questioned without becoming defensive, your witness is weak, and the fruit you produce will not be full, rich, and rewarding. That’s why most believers need to work on the fundamentals—abiding in Christ and learning to love one another from the heart. It’s a strategy that works every time, and it should not only resonate within you but also be freeing.

Instead of proclaiming that which is not strong in your life with bumper stickers, tee shirts, and canned three-minute testimonies, wouldn’t it be better to strengthen your faith with knowledge before looking foolish to everyone?

Work on the basics, and everything will come in its time—not before. When your heart is better prepared, your fruit will be rich, positive, and lasting.

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk) that you may excel still more. (I Thessalonians 4:1)

Jack Watts   Recommended Resources

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Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seamed with scars.

—E. H. Chapin

Having experienced religious abuse as a Catholic child in Boston, while living in a hippie community in California during the Vietnam War that turned into a cult, and as an adult working for Christian ministries for thirty years, each experience has had a shaming effect upon me. For many reasons, I believed I didn’t measure up, and my sense of self worth was abysmally low. I certainly was not the Lone Ranger. Many of my peers had similar experiences and felt the same way—exactly the same way. Some of those around me seemed to be able to handle their abusiveness better than I could.

I wanted to be like them and cast God aside, but I couldn’t. For me, He was real, and I had to deal with Him, regardless of what others chose to do. Perhaps that’s why helping other people recognize their abuse is so important to me. I knew that when I began to understand the causal factors behind my abuse, I would be able to use the recovery tools I learned as a member of AA and turn my life around spiritually.

For years, I wondered why everything happened the way it did. I often thought, Why did that have to happen?

In recent years, I’ve come to accept that nothing occurs without a reason. I couldn’t understand it at the time, but each incident had a purpose. Each chaotic incident and personal failure helped me become the person I am today.

When events were unfolding, I was in too much pain to have any discernment. It was all I could do to make it one day at a time. Since then, however, my concern has always been for people who have been wounded—for the underdog. That’s why I have been writing about religious abuse for years. My burden is to help the millions of wounded Christians whose lives typify pain and sorrow more than love and joy.

Despite what has happened in your past, you can become the person God created you to be—the person you know you want to be. I know it.

And after you have suffered for a little, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. (I Peter 5:10)

Jack Watts   Recommended Resources

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Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

 

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.

—Mark Twain

In Cheshire England, a couple of twelve-year-old schoolboys were disciplined for “refusing to pray to Allah” as part of their school’s religious education program. A spokesman for the Cheshire County Council said, “Educating children in the beliefs of different faiths is part of Cheshire’s diversity curriculum.”

Because of separation of church and state, this scenario couldn’t be replicated in the America—not precisely. The acceptance of every belief system being equally valid, however, flourishes in our nation. In fact, it’s a core doctrine in our cultural belief system.

Christianity has become tolerant and accepting as well. In an attempt to be palatable to everyone—to get them “saved,” Christians have watered-down Christ’s teachings to be the preferred way among equals—not the only way. In America, God’s blessings are equated to materialism and not the rich character qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. In order to be attractive to the unsaved, marginal church leaders—those more intent on creating large churches than strong churches—have diluted Christ’s words.

If you think I’m exaggerating, just ask any young Christian under twenty-five if Christ is the only way to God. Three-out-of-four will either hedge or deny it out rightly. Christianity isn’t loosing the cultural war; we’ve lost it. Our churches are filled with weak, materialistic, sappy people—not robust men and women—those who will not bend their knees for anyone other than the Lord.

Good for those two young boys who had the strength of character to stand up for what they believed. Their defiance made the headlines worldwide. When it happened, I’m sure they were unpopular with their classmates. Fidelity may cost you everything but, without it, you really don’t have anything of value, anyway.

Jesus said to them, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6)

Jack Watts   Recommended Resources

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Refer to Step 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

  

Joy is prayer—Joy is strength—Joy is love—Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.

—Mother Teresa

Regardless of the type of recovery a person is in, whether it’s for alcoholism, gambling, drugs, overeating, sexual compulsivity, or another addiction; there are some similarities between each of them. One common element concerns the purpose for a person’s recovery—learning how to live life on life’s terms, one day at a time.

That’s why millions pray each day, asking God to know His will for them and the power to carry it out. For those who are recovering from spiritual abuse, it’s the same thing. Your purpose is to know God’s will for your life and to have the power to carry it out.

In evangelical Christianity, in particular, believers are told their purpose is to “save the lost,” which is the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Because it was the last statement Christ made earth, it has been a significant part of Christianity ever since.

But, what exactly did it mean? It’s not “saving the lost,” but “discipling the nations’,” which is an entirely different thing. The difference between the two is considerable, especially for people like us. It means that it’s our responsibility—those of us in recovery—to help others who have been used, abused, and discarded, just like we have been helped.

If the primary purpose of the Great Commission is to witness to the lost, then few will do it. For people who have been abused, witnessing to strangers is particularly unappealing. If, on the other hand, it’s God’s purpose for us to help someone who has been wounded—just like we have been—then that’s a much more attractive proposition.

How many people do you know who have had negative experiences with Christianity—five, ten, fifty, or perhaps hundreds? Helping them in their recovery process, which most would welcome, doesn’t feel like such a difficult assignment—not like witnessing to strangers, anyway. Best of all, while you’re doing it, you can be exactly who you are. You don’t have to pretend, which never works anyway.

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (II Corinthians 5:17-18)

Jack Watts   Recommended Resources

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Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

 

Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words!

—Unknown

As a child of God, He expects you to lift Him up. That’s all. That’s your entire responsibility in witnessing—nothing else.

Isn’t it freeing just to read this and take it in?

I can’t save anyone any more than I can damn them. Neither can you. We don’t have anything to do with a person’s eternal destination. We don’t get a vote—never have had one, never will have one. That’s left up the Godhead—Father, Son, and Spirit—where it belongs.

Then, what is your part in the process?

It is to lift up Christ, which you do every time you act out of the nature He has imparted to you, rather than out of our own, self-serving nature. If you act out of your best interest and nothing more, you miss an opportunity to lift Him up. When you are Christ-like, you display love, joy, peace, and patience—all the fruit of the Spirit of God. When you suffer reversals with dignity, you are also lifting Him up. When you choose His way over self-seeking materialism, you are lifting Him up. When you are kind, expecting nothing in return, you are lifting Him up.

When you seek your will, you are not. The greatest problem comes when you deceive yourself into believing your will is God’s will, and you press for it at the expense of what He really wants. That’s a strategy that never works, and it always manifests itself as a poor witness for Christ.

Being Christ-like works; nothing else does. It draws people to the Lord much better than a three-minute testimony with inflated claims, coming from a stranger. The former is genuine, while the latter is little more than an infomercial, which is contrived, forced, and disingenuous—something that never delivers as much as it promises.

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (John 12:32; Colossians 3:17)

Jack Watts   Recommended Resources

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Refer to Step 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

 

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.

—Victor Frankl

How can you tell someone is “walking the walk” and not simply “talking the talk?” In recovery, as well as in every aspect of life, this is an important question—one that requires an answer regularly. What you say is important, but what you do is far more important.

If you care for your fellow man; if you have compassion for those caught in addiction, despair, or any acting-out behavior; if you routinely display love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness; you are walking the walk every day of your life—whether you say anything or not. You just don’t realize it most of the time.

If your walk with God is shallow, if your beliefs are simplistic, and if you are unwilling to have your faith challenged or questioned, your recovery will be weak, devoid of fruit, and easily derailed. To become everything you want to be and are capable of being, you must develop a strong relationship with the Lord. There’s simply no other way to do it. You have to own it yourself. You can’t recover without it.

Therefore, instead of proclaiming that which is not strong in your life with bumper stickers, tee shirts, and canned answers, wouldn’t it be wiser to strengthen your faith rather than just drift along aimlessly, nursing your grudge and perpetuating being a victim?

Intellectually and philosophically, Christianity is time-weathered, profound, and enduring. At the same time, most Christians are unable to handle legitimate questions—questions recovery demands.

Most of Christ’s disciples were ignorant men, but they changed the world. You can also change your world but, before that can happen, you must strengthen your inner man by spending quality time with God. Without it, you’re destined to have thoughts no deeper than the slogan from a bumper sticker or the platitude of a tee-shirt.

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. (Philippians 1:27)

Jack Watts

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