Sometimes believers feel they must spiritualize conversations with lost friends and people they are burdened about regarding salvation. However, this can strain things as it ignores the practical side of life.
Peter said of Jesus, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). This passage emphasizes the practical side of Jesus ministry. Obviously, He also preached and taught. Matthew declares, “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matt. 9:35). Jesus healed many and preached the good news. In this, we see how an act of love could open the heart for the message of love.
Herein lies a practical principle. Acts of love can prepare the heart for the message of love. While we of ourselves cannot heal people (though God still can), we can apply acts of kindness. We can minister to people’s needs. When the Spirit prompts us to speak, then we can speak. But it may not be necessary to “witness” with every conversation. If one pursues such a course, witnessing can turn into bondage.
We have liberty to speak when the Spirit leads. We have liberty to do an act of kindness as the Spirit leads. Sometimes, He will lead us to do both in the same encounter. Sometimes it may be one or the other. Liberty—the way of faith in Christ alone—means we have the liberty to do or not do as the Spirit leads.
John Van Gelderen