December 28 I Tuesday
“Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.” —Romans 12:10-11
Is it possible to be too spiritually immersed in God to the point of actually deterring people from wanting to spend time with us? Are we alienating them with incessant talk about God, our faith, the Bible, Jesus Christ and the gospel?
The answer is, “No.” We cannot be too spiritually immersed, but we can come across as so sanctimonious that we do not take time to consider where others are in their walk with God. Our enthusiasm can be misunderstood as giving the impression that we will stop at nothing to sway them over to our beliefs. While we should certainly talk of Christ when the opportunity arises, if we keep rambling on, we will likely close down further expression from our hearers. We must be inviting and not defensive, encouraging and not imposing. We should aim to be open to what they have to say, and not be dogmatic in what we have to say.
The interpretation of Christ’s love is a very intimate and personal matter. We may build a house according to divine plans, but reaching to the life inside is the Lord’s work. When we are attentive to the perspective of others, we gain far more from listening, asking questions and relating to another’s position, concerns and beliefs. We must let the person develop their own spiritual being as the Holy Spirit directs them, as opposed to constructing it for them. We must be the encourager, not the orchestrator.
To have surrendered our lives so completely to Christ that we are able to say with Paul, “...I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20), is a remarkable testament to the Christian life. But even Paul, on his missionary journeys, connected the dots from where people stood in their lives, both Jews and Gentiles, to introduce the gospel tactfully in a way they could relate to and understand.
If we cannot get enough of the Bible, if we take every opportunity to talk to God and listen for that still, small voice He places within us, if we relate everything in our lives to God and if we live with grateful hearts in dependence on Him, obedience to Him and love for Him, we could not be in a better place. Jesus is our all in all, and there is no such thing as being too spiritually immersed in Him. This kind of fervour is a wonderful blessing, but vitally important to the Christian life is placing others first, listening to them, and speaking with the same wisdom, tenderness and patience as the Holy Spirit speaks to us.
Prayer: Dear God, grant me the wisdom and discernment of Your Holy Spirit in how I speak to others about You. Please help me be an attentive listener. Thank You, Lord.