By Reuben Archer Torrey
HOW TO DEAL WITH THOSE WHO WISH TO PUT OFF A DECISION UNTIL SOME OTHER TIME
Oftentimes when you have swept away every difficulty, and the way of salvation is made as clear as day, still the inquirer is not ready to decide then and there. He wishes to put off a decision until some future time. There are several classes of those who wish to put off a decision:
I. I WANT TO WAIT.
One of the largest classes is composed of those who say, "I want to wait," or Not tonight," or "I will think about it," or "I will come tomorrow night," or some other such thing.
Give to such a person Isaiah 55:6:
"Seek ye the Lord WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND, call ye upon him while he is near."
When the inquirer has read the passage, ask him when it is that he is to seek the Lord. When he says, "While he may be found," ask him when that is. Make it clear that the only time when he can be absolutely sure of finding the Lord is right now. Ask him if he can be sure of finding the Lord tomorrow if he does not seek Him today. Sometimes it is well to give illustrations from life concerning those who put off seeking the Lord, and when the next day came it was too late to find Him.
Proverbs 27:1 is also a good verse to use:
"Boast not thyself of tomorrow: for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
When the verse has been carefully and intelligently read (if it is not read carefully and intelligently at first, ask the one with whom you are dealing to read it again), ask him what it is that God says it is unwise to boast one's self of. "Tomorrow." Ask him why it is unwise to boast one's self of tomorrow. 'Because thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Ask him if he knows what a single day will bring forth. Suggest to him some of the things that it may bring forth, and then ask him if he does not think he had better take Christ then and there.
Proverbs 29:1 has often been used of the Holy Spirit to bring men to an immediate decision:
"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall SUDDENLY be destroyed, and that without remedy."
It is well after the verse has been read to ask the one with whom you are dealing, "What becomes of the one who being often reproved hardeneth his neck?" When he answers, "He shall suddenly be destroyed," ask him if he is willing to run the risk. Or you can use Matthew 25:10-12:
"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, "Verily I say unto you, I know you not."
Ask him who it was that went in to the marriage, and when he answers, "They that were ready," ask him if he is ready. Then ask him what happened afterward to those who were not ready. Ask him who those who were not ready were. Then put it to him, "Are you willing to be on the outside?"
Another excellent passage to use is Luke 12:19-20:
"And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up FOR MANY YEARS; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. BUT GOD SAID unto him, Thou fool, THIS NIGHT thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"
After the verses have been read, ask, "For how many years did this man think that He had his goods laid up?" 'Many years." "But what did God say to him?" "How many years do you think you have before you still? But what may God say to you? When may He say it?"
A passage especially effective in dealing with those who say, "I am not ready," is Matthew 24:44:
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
Another passage which can also be used with good effect is 1 Kings 18:21:
"And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him."
An excellent way to use this verse is by asking the person whether he would be willing to wait a year and not have an opportunity under any circumstances, no matter what came up, of accepting Christ. When he answers, "No, I might die within a year," ask him if he would be willing to wait a month, a week, a day. Ask him if he would like God, the Holy Spirit, and all Christians to leave him alone for a day, and he not have the opportunity under any circumstances of accepting Christ. Almost any thoughtful person will say "No." Then tell him if that is the case, he had better accept and it has been followed by many others with great success.
Other passages which can be used with this class are:
"Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." James 4:13-14.
"Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee." Job 36:18.
"Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come." John 8:21.
"Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth." John 12:35.
"Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come." John 7:33-34.
II. I MUST GET FIXED IN BUSINESS FIRST, AND THEN I WILL BECOME A CHRISTIAN."
Those who say, "I must get fixed in business first, and then I will become a Christian."
With such persons use Matthew 6:33:
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
This verse makes it very clear that we must seek the kingdom of God first, and everything else must be made secondary.
III. I AM WAITING FOR GOD'S TIME.
Those who say, "I am waiting for God's time."
Quite frequently this is said in all honesty. Many people have an idea that God has a certain time for saving people, and we must wait until this time comes. If any one says this, ask him if he will accept Christ in God's time if you will show him just when God's time is. When he says he will, turn him to 2 Corinthians 6:2:
"(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME, behold, now is the day of salvation.)"
This verse shows him that God's time is now. Or turn to Hebrews 3:15:
"While it is said, TODAY if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation."
This shows that God's time is today.
IV. I AM TOO YOUNG TO BE A CHRISTIAN.
Those who say, "I am too young to be a Christian," or "I want to wait until I am older."
With such a person open your Bible to Ecclesiastes 12:1 and read:
"Remember now thy Creator IN THE DAYS OF THY YOUTH, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them."
Matthew 19:14 and 18:3 are also good passages to use, as they show that youth is the best time to come to Christ, and that all must become as children, even if they are old, before they can enter into the kingdom of heaven.
It is oftentimes wise in dealing with persons who wish to put off a decision until some time in the future to use the passages given for dealing with those who have little or no concern about their salvation (Chapter Six), until such a deep impression is made of their need of Christ that they will not be willing to postpone accepting Him. As a rule in dealing with those under I., it is best to use only one passage, and drive that home by constant repetition. One night I was dealing with a man who was quite excited, but kept saying, "I cannot decide tonight." Over and over again I quoted Proverbs 29:1. In reply to every answer he made, I would give this passage. I must have repeated it a great many times in the course of the conversation, until the man was made to feel, not only his need of Christ, but the danger of delay, and the necessity of a prompt decision. He tried to get away from the passage, but I held him to this one point. The passage remained with him, and it was carried home by the providence of God, for he came nearly being destroyed on the street that night; he was assaulted. He came back to the meeting the next night with his head all bandaged, and then and there accepted Christ. The pounding he received from his assailant would probably have done him little good if the text of the Scripture had not been previously pounded into his head.