Recently, I was cautioned, by another believer and I’m sure, out of love, not to use individual Scripture to make a point. I agree that Scripture should not be taken out of context and that individual Scripture flows with the passage it is a part of. At the same time individual Scripture might be exactly what someone may need to hear at a particular time.
My spiritual calling is to teach God’s word. If I could sit and traipse through God’s word all day every day, following the Holy Spirit’s lead, I would! My passion is digging deeper and sharing with others what I believe the Holy Spirit is showing me. So this caution leaves me in a bit of a quandary. If I restrict myself from using any part of God’s word to influence the lives of others for Christ, then what do I use? Believe me, I take the words of James very seriously.
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. James 3:1
In comparison, a friend shared with me that someone told them that it is not our responsibility to influence others for Christ. The Scripture that immediately came to mind was Matthew 28:19
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19
If we’re not meant to influence others for Christ then why did Jesus give us this command? Grant it, we do not influence others by our own volition. Rather, it is the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in us that empowers us to do so. If it isn’t our job to influence others for Christ then what is so good about the Good News and all that it contains?!
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7
“It is a wonderful privilege to be able to share God’s Good News with others, his news of redemption, salvation, and peace.” Study notes Isaiah 52:7 NIV Life Application Study Bible. Sharing the Good News is sharing God’s word, whether it is a complete passage or single verse.
Are these two instances coincidental? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Why, as brothers and sisters in Christ, do we sometimes spend so much time discouraging each other instead of encouraging one another in our efforts to influence others with the Good News of Jesus Christ?!!
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved
you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35.
There is always the possibility that I misunderstood the caution given me, at the same time, using individual verses to make a point is how I am wired; how God created me. He speaks to me in single verses. When I’m ministering to others individual verses come to mind that I believe the Holy Spirit wants me to share. If I trust God then I have to trust that he has already opened the ears of the hearer and softened their heart to hear His words. His words of truth.
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32.