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Providing Bridges Over Obstacles
Perhaps this has happened to you. An opportunity to talk to someone about Christ presents itself, and you freeze. You aren’t sure what to say and you’re scared to speak.
Fear is a normal response in witnessing. This is because we are taking a risk. Even Paul experienced fear. The risks he experienced were far greater than those we typically face.
As you enter into the spiritual journey of others, you will encounter obstacles. Don’t be surprised. Paul did as well. When Paul encountered a group of philosophers in Athens who challenged and disputed him, he didn’t give up. Rather, he looked for common ground.
Dealing with questions and issues people raise in spiritual conversations requires preparation. But preparation is more than learning right answers. It involves cultivating right attitudes — gentleness and respect.
One of the most challenging situations you may face as a you share the gospelwitness is when someone opposes the gospel. According to Paul, what is needed most at that moment is gentle instruction. This involves grace and truth.
One of the greatest fears to plague us in witnessing is the possibility of being asked questions we don’t know how to answer. Let’s look at the principle that Paul gives us.
Many obstacles keep people from Christ. The rich young man who came to Jesus seemed so close spiritually. He was there with Jesus, talking face to face, experiencing his love and listening to his insight. Yet an obstacle stood in the way of his willingness to trust Jesus and follow him.
When a person encounters an obstacle such as a river on a journey, they need a bridge to continue. Spiritually many people encounter obstacles that keep them from moving toward Christ. They, too, need bridges to continue going forward. Their obstacles may be intellectual objections, emotional baggage, or a host of other issues. The builder builds bridges over the obstacles with prayer and gentle persuasion. Prayer is most important, as the issues are ultimately spiritual in nature. But the builder will also come alongside those who are stuck, and with understanding and affirmation, use gentle persuasion to provide a bridge.
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