I have memorized various witnessing techniques ranging from the use of colored beads in bracelets to trying to live a saintly life. For me, these methods have not lasted very long on my own strength. I have discovered the reason that this comes to pass can be summed in the computer world’s vernacular phrase “operator error”. In short, the tools are ok but the operator needs to be reminded how to use them in proper order.
I turn to my bible knowing that in the far corners of my memory and from yellow highlighted text in my New International Version Women’s Devotional Study Guide, there is evidence of more clearly delineated operator instructions. This is a good place to begin. So, why is it so hard for me to remember to look for the answers in the bible when I get sidetracked with the daily struggles we call life? Especially when I remember to take the time to look, I am blessed with a reminder that is “of first importance”-Christ died. (I Cor. 15:3, NIV.) The text does not distinguish a second or third priority but streams the next items in series to include-he was buried, resurrected, and appeared alive. First, to a select few and then to hundreds. Last of all to Paul.
Though Paul considered himself unworthy, he did walk effectively with the Lord because he recognized that the Lord had fulfilled His promises “according to scriptures” (I Cor. 15:3) and knew what was of first importance.
Though I fondly recall that this particular NIV had been read during services in the Middle East and also had an unfortunate mishap in a Jacksonville, FL church toilet, I regret that I do not recall who gave the particular sermon that caused me to highlight the text that encapsulated the entire New Testament in four actions listed in six verses of scripture. I guess knowing that Paul spoke about it first should suffice. But, understanding that whoever it was chose to give attention to the Word of God instead of him or her self speaks volumes to their testimony. They have learned as Paul has learned proper order.
In my daily walk and in my feeble attempts to speak of a Risen Lord, help me to remember these simple truths. Begin in proper order in the bible where Christ died so that even the most unworthy can overcome operator errors and to understand what is of first importance.
I Cor. 15:3-8 NIV
3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.