By Zach Wood
1 Peter 3:15-16
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
For the past six years, I have been working in a secular work environment. I went from working in a full-time vocational ministry setting to working around people who are, obviously, not dedicated to ministry. This is the "real world" as some may call it. I think no matter where you are, you are in the real world. Being in the secular work environment has taught me so many things. God has allowed me to see so much more, honestly, than I ever saw working in a church position. This is not saying that people who work in a church position do not see what is going on in the world. Please do not get me wrong here. I am saying that having the experience of being around ordinary work force people has been a different world for me and has taught me what is it like beyond the church ministry walls.
From this experience, God has taught me that speaking wisely around these workers is so vital to my witness. Each day I wake up, I pray that God will give me a heart that is pure and holy. I ask Him to guide my words and actions to glorify Him. Do I mess up at my job and do things I should not and not glorify Him? Absolutely. I am not perfect by any means. I realize how very human I really am and what things really push my buttons. People who work with me know I am a Christian, but they also know I am human. I do dumb things and say dumb things. In a way, it is really nice to be able to be "real" with people and not try like I have everything together all the time.
Through these years, I have asked God to give me witnessing opportunities. Does this mean I have time each day to sit down with people and talk about Jesus Christ? Not in the way I thought at first. What God does through me is He uses my reactions and responses to show others who I am. I am a Child of God, but I am also a sinner who falls and stumbles. He picks me up and I go back at it again. It has been amazing to see how God has used my witness at this job. Not in ways I would have thought. Honestly, almost every day I do not know how God uses a person like me to be His witness. I mess up so many ways and say so many things that do not glorify Him. But.....He still uses me in spite of my weaknesses. It shows people how human I really am.
I use this personal account in this devotional to share with you that it is so vital to speak wisely and carefully when others around are listening closely. There is a very, very lost world out there. They need God more than ever. I really believe all God asks of us is to be REAL. He does not want His children acting like they have it all together. He wants His children to just be real and honest. However, this is where the caution comes in. When we share Christ with others in a conversation somehow, we need to remember to do this with gentleness and respect. Does this mean we "water down" our message? Absolutely not! What it means is that we treat the situation with the person with respect. We give the reason for the hope we have, but we do it with a gentleness that does not sound like we are trying to be holy or better than them. Nor does it mean we shove it down their throat.
God wants to use each opportunity that we have to each others as well as teach ourselves. We can share with others the love of God, but we can also learn each time how we approach people and conversations. It does not mean you have to sit down somewhere and talk for a long time. Each situation is different. Just take advantage of each opportunity God gives. Pray about it. Think about it. Led Him lead.
Speak wisely, for they are all watching.....and listening.
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