FLETCH: Small Talk
Most of the time our conversations with one another are shallow, surfacy and do not get to the real issues of our lives. We like staying on top of the water, discussing the weather, the latest sports debacle, or neighborhood gossip. We want to interact with each other but we don’t want to meddle or get too personal. We ask the question, “How are you doing?”, yet we don’t really want an answer longer than, “I’m fine, how are you.”
But why? Why are we afraid to talk to each other about the really important things in our lives and what is really going on in our hearts? I think mainly because we are selfish and self-conscious. Selfish in the sense that we really don’t want to take the time to listen to someone’s problems and then have to take even more time if they need help working through them. Self-conscious in that we don’t want others to see how vulnerable and weak we really are. We all have struggles and we just don’t want to admit it, and we certainly don’t want to discuss it with others.
But, God designed us to live in relationships. God designed us to communicate and interact with one another in such a way that we can carry each other’s burdens, share our needs with one another and minister to one another.
But how can we do this in everyday conversation? Sometimes we don’t have more than a few minutes to be with people. Sometimes we just don’t know what else to talk about. I want to offer three simple questions that could radically change your small talk into significant life on life interaction with those around you. Are you ready?
1. Have you been living in the rhythm of repentance and faith?
Many of you know I like to use that phrase, “living in the rhythm of repentance and faith.” I believe, because the Scriptures tell us, that every day we fall short of God’s best for our lives. We all fall short of living for God’s glory all the time. Therefore, we need to repent, stop doing the things that oppose God and His glory, and believe in faith that God has redeemed us from our sin. We turn away from our sin and turn back to God through faith in Christ who has died for our sins, past, present and future. This takes humility, vulnerability, and honesty before the face of God. But, it is also good to live authentically before the face of one another. How would you react if someone asked you, “Have you been living in the rhythm of repentance and faith?” Would you share honestly about your struggles and shortcomings? Why not? What are you afraid of? Let’s put aside our pride and our outward persona to be open and honest with one another. Let’s be ready to embrace the gospel of grace through Jesus.
2. Have you been personally engaging the Bible this week?
There is no greater book for no other book contains the very words of God. Some people say, “I wish God would just speak to me.” My answer is, “He has, just read the Bible.”
God really does want you to know Him, face to face, word to word. He has revealed Himself to us through the Scriptures, so we take them very seriously. We study them, memorize them, read them, listen to them and meditate on them. So that we can clearly hear God speak to us, to understand His will for our lives and for this world.
How do we engage the Bible personally? We study it daily on our own. Create in your schedule some time to be in God’s Word daily. We listen to it preached and taught. This happens on Sunday mornings in church and Sunday School, this happens in Community Groups, and small group Bible studies. Engaging the Bible can happen as you download a sermon from one of your favorite preachers or watch them online. But engaging the Bible means that we not only listen and read it, but we also obey it, struggle with it, apply it and allow it to transform our hearts, minds and lives.
3. Have you been reaching out and loving those around you this week?
God does not call us to live self-centered, isolated lives. He calls us to live in community and in relationship with others. Jesus said, “Love one another. All men will know you are my disciples if you love one another.” This means loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, with all their warts and worries. Jesus lived out a life of service as Mark says, “For even the Son of Man [Jesus] did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We follow Jesus throughout the day by loving, serving and ministering to those we come in contact with through the power of the gospel living in us.
I realize that these three questions do not comprehensively cover all the things we are to do and be about as believers but it’s a start. What might happen if we started asking these questions to one another? I believe we would start speaking to one another in a way that God wants us to. Getting below the surface of our skin to our hearts. I believe we will be challenged by one another and we will be holding one another accountable to being disciples of Christ.
Repentance and faith?
Engaging the Bible?
Giving you permission to ask me these questions,