by Allen White
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:11-12
Often we shy away from talking about our faith. The assumption is that while we know that we’re inadequate, we assume that everyone else is adequate. We think “They don’t have the struggles that I have. They don’t have the doubts I wrestle with. They don’t lack the commitment that I do.” Guess what? We’re not so different.
Every believer struggles with something. It’s part of having a spiritual nature and a sinful nature simultaneously working inside you (Romans 7:21-25). If we weren’t saved, it wouldn’t be as much of a struggle, well, unless we got caught. Our struggle is normal. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I’m normal.” Bear in mind, we’re unsure of the definition.
Don’t get me wrong. We can talk the spiritual talk. But, the question is: Are we working hard to maintain a religious culture or are we being transformed? Many of our discipleship strategies tend to make us more like the Pharisees than like Jesus’ disciples.
In many Christian gatherings, there are a couple of pink elephants in the room. First, as Rick Warren says, “Everyone is in one of three situations. You’re either in a problem, coming out of a problem, or about to have a problem.” There is no problem-free option. Christians have problems.
The other pastel pachyderm is that every one of us has a measure of faith, but if we share it, we think we’ll be accused of being super-spiritual. Every one of us has a deep need to share that faith with others, and to be encouraged by each other’s faith. This is what Paul looked forward to sharing with the Roman believers.
But, how do you start that? Do you walk up to a Christian friend and say, “Let me encourage you with my faith”? That’s kind of weird. Maybe the conversation goes like this: What is God teaching you these days? What prayers have you seen answered? How has God used you to help someone else? Then, look for real answers, not Sunday school answers.
We can talk about everything else under the sun. “Who’s going to win American Idol? Boy, it’s a nice day. Man, this pollen is killing me. What athlete got traded where?” When do you make space to talk about the most important thing in your life, your connection with God?
Maybe the first step is to share this devotional with a Christian friend, and ask them what they think. Let these words erase some of the awkwardness.
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