This week I spent time with a seasoned, older man who has walked with God for sixty years. Observing this war-horse of the faith, and reflecting back on others of his stripe, two traits seem to characterize their lives:
INTIMACY (The Great Commandment – Matt. 22:37-39) – I notice that they have cultivated the practice of communion with Christ through the day. That is, they exhibit dependency upon Jesus in the details of their lives, being highly sensitive to His prompting, and acutely aware of personal sin. Unwittingly, they project a spirit of humility and gentleness — perhaps even brokenness. Absent is any air of superiority or self-promotion.
“…We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ…It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful…Clothe yourselves with…humility, gentleness and patience…” (2 Cor. 10:5b – NIV; Jn.15:5a – Phillips; Col. 3:12b – NIV)
IMMEDIACY (The Great Commission – Mt 28:18-20) – It seems that they are forever, and everlastingly “at it.” That is, their antennas are up, utilizing every opportunity to lovingly and graciously share the love of Christ with those who enter their orbit. Theirs is a mind-set reflective of Paul’s:
“…Naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, (evangelism) and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about Him, (discipleship) so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ Jesus. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me.” (Col.1:28,29 -Phillips)
Their sense of immediacy is mirrored in the saying, “if not you – who? If not now – When?” Yet, with this sense of immediacy, there is not the slightest hint of pushiness. Again, reflective of Paul’s approach:
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone…And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…” (Col. 4:5,6; 2 Tim 2:25-26a)
In summary, the above passages instruct us on how to relate to our lost friends and associates:
- Be wise: Clever and skilled
- Utilize every opportunity: Immediacy.
- Be gracious: Gentle, meek, humble, mild, patiently enduring evil or ill will.
- Be salty: Pointed; not insipid; “an edge of liveliness” (Knox Translation)
- Be willing to correct error or false teaching: Chasten, educate, teach and train.
- Not be quarrelsome: Don’t dispute or strive. Rather, be kind.
SUGGESTION: Would you take a moment now and pray, “Lord, if my walk with you is not characterized by a spirit of intimacy and immediacy, why? What needs to change?”
My prayer is that you are having a great week!Views: 80