Not Looking For Agreement

Can you remember an argument you had where a person you were trying to correct refused to agree that they had done the thing you said they did? Even though there was no disputing the details?

I have. In one particular encounter, when it happened, it took me by surprise. So much so, the entire encounter changed the way I think. Here's why: It didn't matter how clear the situation was, he was not going to agree that he had done anything wrong. Then the unexpected happened!

Gently instruct those who oppose the truth.

Let's do this in story format for fun. The names and some details have been changed to protect... everybody! :-)

Jack And Tom

Jack was the manager of our team. One day a member, we'll call him Tom, was in a tough situation with a client where it was appropriate to refuse our services. It was a common practice to refuse service under these particular conditions. However, when Jack came over to back Tom, he put Tom in a terrible position.

Instead of confirming the denial of service, he assisted the client with their request and enforced their bad behavior. After Jack left, the client even began to mock Tom directly to his face. All Tom could do was endure the humiliation.

Jack, the manager, wasn't there for the mocking that Tom was forced to endure. To make matters worse, there were questionable legal factors to offering our services under the odd conditions as well. There were others on the team that witnessed Jack reversing the correct decision of Tom and now there was confusion as to when we could or couldn't offer our services.

This was a serious problem as a bad decision in these matters could put the business in jeopardy for breaking the law.

An Encounter With Jack

I approached Jack after the incident and indicated to him that what he had done was illegal and also confused the other team members on how to deal with this type of client request. I recommended that he apologize to Tom in front of the entire team and enforce the correct decision making in this type of situation.

It was unclear to me what kind of response I was going to get and I ended up with one I didn't anticipate at all.

Set The Premise

It is appropriate that we are ready to answer questions from Believers and non-believers. However we do not need to accept the premise of a question.

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. - 1 Peter 3:15 NLT

Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.

Here is a fantastic definition of what a premise is:

A premise is the assumption of an argument that is meant to justify the conclusion the one making the argument is hoping you’ll come to. If one fails to establish the premise to his argument, one almost always fails to convince others of his conclusion. On the other hand, if one establishes a premise one will more than likely get others to agree with his conclusion. - from the article, "Never Accept the Premise of Your Opponent’s Argument" by Steve Deace,

We want to do what Jesus did and change or correct the premise of questions we get asked, to what should have been asked to lead to salvation. Jesus did this many times. Let's become expert in delivering the gospel and become expert in rephrasing questions about life and give context to a topic so the truth can be established.

The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand. - Psalm 119:130 NLT

The premise in the questions we use to deliver the Gospel or teach the scriptures, should speak toward salvation and understanding the Lord. They should steer away from conversations that devolve into confusion.

This is an integral tool to delivering the gospel at every opportunity and creating an opportunities where it may not seem to exist.

The Antidote

There is far more that is assumed in a question than we may think. In an honest effort to create the appropriate context of seeking the truth and to bring understanding to a topic, we will always want to set the premise. In many cases we will need to reset the premise by presenting a new question.

Made For This Moment

You are a warrior! It is a part of your new nature in Christ. Whatever difficulties that lie before you, you are made for this moment. So let's take a daily approach where we are readying ourselves for the battles to come.

You were made for this.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. - James 1:2-4 NLT

Can you find this kind of fortitude right now? Maybe. For many of us we will need to grow into increasing levels of fortitude. This is the reason the Apostle Paul instructed us to put on the full armor of God. The first step is to think like Jesus thinks.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." - John 16:33 NLT

You Were Made For This Moment

Let's no longer be surprised that life is not going to go the way that we think that it should go. Let's stop letting it throw us off of who we are in Christ. The way we do that, is to think like a warrior. Think like Jesus thinks! You can begin or continue your training regimen right now.
All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. - 1 Corinthians 9:25-26 NLT

You Are A Warrior

Can you remember a time when things were difficult? It's likely something or several things are happening right now that are terrible. Do you remember thinking that, "if I could just *fill in the blank* I would be set? Once this is over with, life will be better."

  • "If I could get that job or promotion, that's all I would need." 
  • "If I could get that bill paid then I would be doing great." 
  • "If I could just get some relief, I would be ok."

Stand Your Ground

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking sets us up for failure when the next challenge comes along. If we achieve a victory or good fortune overcoming a difficult situation, we want to make sure we do not disarm ourselves for the next encounter.

Celebrate The Wins, Develop Fortitude For The Next Challenge

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. - Ephesians 6:10 NLT

Certainly, we want to celebrate every win. It is an integral part of laying a foundation of fortitude. Yet, instead of letting down our guard and thinking it's all clear, understand that the next step is to ready yourself for the next battle... before it comes!
Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. - Ephesians 6:11 NLT

Let's change our mind about how we approach our day. We do this for the things that will inevitably come our way.
Put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. - Ephesians 6:13 NLT

We want to do this because we know that no matter what we achieve and no matter what we overcome, the battle of life is not going to stop. Let's not expect it to.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. - 1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT

A Tall Order

Our daily fight is never going to end. Horrible things will never stop coming our way. Take a moment to get your mind wrapped around this idea. Then let's activate the superpower of love. We want to do this because our tendency is to work up fear. It's a tall order but we must take every opportunity to think like Jesus thinks.
And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. - 1 John 4:17-18 NLT