"Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words."
There are some people that just have the gift of gab. They can talk you into almost anything because they seem so confident in what they are selling or advertising. It is said that these gifted people could "sell ice to an Eskimo". Many of us have been victims to their slick tongues and now have some worthless item stored away in the attic. We end up buying the sales pitch or the salesmen instead of the product. There words were so convincing and persuasive that we could not pass up the deal that was before us. Now, however, we are living with buyer's remorse, and we feel foolish or maybe even cheated.
Unfortunately, the message of the Gospel is often sold in a nice little package of words. The eager believer has learned a sales pitch in which they present Jesus to others and make them an offer they can't refuse. They use techniques such as guilt, freedom from problems, or easy believism to "talk" some one into being saved. The new convert is so easily persuaded by the convincing words of the speaker that they make a decision for the offer and not for Christ. They have made a choice about religion or social change and not repentance and faith. Therefore, they now go through their life in a fog of confusion and many experience remorse about their decision and end up blaming God for how they feel.
As believers we must realize that we cannot "persuade" men to come to Christ. The Apostle Paul knows firsthand what it means to have someone be persuaded by words. When Paul stood at trial before the royal magistrates, Agrippa said, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." Paul must have felt sadness in those words, because he knew that man cannot be persuaded by man to come to God. It is only a response to the leading of the Holy Spirit that draws men into a true relationship with Christ. We must speak boldly for Christ and the message of the Gospel, but all the results must be left in the hands of the Almighty. Before we speak to men about their souls, we must spend long hours in prayer speaking to God about the souls of men. The power of being a witness directly correlates to the power of prayer. Without the power of the Holy Spirit we are helpless in our efforts to lead men to God.
David Livingstone was a man that gave his life to reaching the "Dark Continent" of Africa. His exploits are often spoken of and written about in volumes of books. He is hailed as a pioneer, explorer, and missionary. His accomplishments are well-known and widely published. I have had the privilege of sitting in Westminster Abbey in London right next to the place where he is buried. He is truly a remarkable giant of God's kingdom, but all of his accomplishments had nothing to do with the man. David Livingstone accomplished great things for God, because he was surrendered to the Almighty and had learned to spend countless hours before God on his knees. Livingstone never persuaded Africans to come to Christ; he simply let God use him as a channel for the work of the Holy Spirit.
May you be bold in prayer so that you may bold in speech today!