The Power of Our Words
Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
- 2013 Feb 12
I love reading stories about how people came to their faith in the Lord. It’s humbling to see, time and time again, how God lovingly pursues us, calls us to repentance through the Holy Spirit and gives us the gift of His Son.
I want to share one such story with you.
In My Train Wreck Conversion, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (photo courtesy of CT) shares her story of being a woman who, in her own words, was a “leftist lesbian professor” who “despised Christians.” Steeped in her postmodern intellectual worldview, she was convinced of that Christians hated her – and she was going to attack.
As an English professor, Champagne Butterfield knew words would make for her best weapon, and decided her first assault would be through an article she wrote for her local paper.
A local pastor read Champagne Butterfield’s story and decided to write her. Pastor Ken Smith gently engaged her through questions that challenged the core of her worldview. This first outreach led to a friendship between Champagne Butterfield, Smith and his wife, Floy. For two years, the three engaged in open, honest conversations and shared time together, with Champagne Butterfield ultimately accepting Jesus Christ as the Lord of her life.
As you read Champagne Butterfield’s incredibly poignant and vulnerable account, you can’t help but put yourself in Smith’s place. Would you have been obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit? Would you have reached out to a woman who thought Christians and their God were “stupid, pointless and menacing”? Or would you have thought Champagne Butterfield was too far beyond God’s reach to even try?
I am reminded of Ananias (the good one!), in the book of Acts. When God told him to help Saul, who persecuted and killed Christians, Ananias was understandably shaken – but he ultimately obeyed. Instead of seeing Saul as a lost cause, Ananias chose to trust God. The result of his obedience, of course, was Saul becoming Paul: a humble follower of Christ who helped bring the Gospel of grace to an untold number of people.
In a similar fashion, because Rev. Ken Smith shared his faith in love, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield surrendered her life to Christ. Today she is married to a pastor – and only God knows how many people will meet the Lord through their faithful service.
I thank God for the many pastors who wade into the world’s treacherous waters each day, often unnoticed and unheralded. In my book, they are heroes.
My encouragement to you is this: lovingly share your faith. Reach out to those who might seem like unlikely converts – after all, no one is beyond God’s love. The idea of witnessing to someone may seem daunting at first, but it can be as simple as sharing your own story of coming to faith.
Maybe God has chosen you to be Ananias to a Saul in your office or neighborhood. What a privilege that would be!
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