I’m a big tech fan – I like being able to do things with greater efficiency & sometimes effectiveness, with the use of technology. Its also interesting to chat w my kids about life before the cell phone, personal computers, wifi & all of these wonderful inventions.
With that being said, lets be mindful that technology is a tool & not always the solution. For example, even though we can text, Facebook, FaceTime, tweet, etc, there’s nothing that will ever replace the experience of a real face to face conversation. The same holds true in our chats with God – lets not rely on methods, systems or anything that would substitute for the real face to face presence & fellowship that we can have with God! 🙂
I like to have lots of different kinds of friends. I have friends with whom I talk sports, some that we talk about good books that we’re reading, others that we talk about spiritual issues, some that we discuss our kids and what’s happening in their lives, etc. It seems to me that we each friend, there are some distinct conversational “sweet spots” and I’ve learned that there are various topics that are limited to certain friends. For example, I don’t talk about sports with my friend who is my book buddy and I don’t talk about fashion with my “spiritual issues” friend. Everyone definitely has their unique strengths and I love this!!
There is, however, one person with whom I I love talking about almost everything & that’s God. But I think it’s unfortunate that even with God I find myself occasionly trying to limit the conversation because I don’t like the topic. But here’s the truth: God is the only truly “safe” person with whom you can talk about literally anything and He will ALWAYS have constructive things to say to you, regardless of the topic. Don’t limit your conversations with God 🙂
I just started reading Job & I was reading the part where God & Satan were chatting about Job. What an interesting conversation! Makes me consider that maybe they chat about us as well, from time to time. If you would be curious to know what might be said between them about you, don’t get nervous. I’m quite confident, based on Jesus’ atoning work, that God is looking on you w great favor, maybe even bragging about you!! You can also trust that the devil’s efforts haven’t changed throughout history – he’s still looking for some way to bring you down, talking smack.
Based on this dialogue, we just need to continuously decide that our ears are tuned into God’s voice – He affirms you, believes in you & most importantly, loves you. The other voice is nothing but deception, smack & destruction.
Sure, we all need to grow, improve & do better, but Gods voice always applauds while the devil always jeers & discourages. You’re not a loser!!
I know I worte yesterday about Joseph having a courageous conversation related to his boss’s wife trying to hit on him, but Joseph had other courageous conversations as well. Another example of his courageous conversation is his discussion with some servants of Pharoah who had been thrown in prison w Joseph – the cupbearer & baker. In this conversation with these men, Joseph interpreted their dreams. One would live & be restored to his position under Pharoah & the other would die.
Now, here’s why I think Joseph’s conversation with these men was courageous – he was concerned. The reason I think Joseph’s concern was courageous is because the opposite of concern, apathy & selfishness, are the coward’s reply to the needs of others. When these men told Joseph their dreams, there wasn’t much that Joseph could do to help them, but he could use his God-given talents with interpreting dreams to express his concern.
In a similar way, there are probably some people in our lives with whom we need to have a courageous conversation to express our concern & care – maybe concern about their choices, relationship w God, etc.
Apathy is for cowards, but concern is for the courageous
Wow! This is certainly a theme in my life right now! A courageous conversation is a discussion that requires courage – it can require courage for a variety of reasons. As such, let’s look at Joseph (in Genesis 37-42) to look at 1 of his courageous conversations:
Maybe Joseph’s first courageous conversation required bravery because of his convictions. Consider his dialogue with Potipher’s wife, who wanted to make out w Joseph. When you read what Joseph said in Gen 39:8-9, you can see that he needed courage to say what he said: “But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?'”
Convictions require courage & when we are asked to do something that violates our convictions, we must draw on God’s strength & wisdom to share with diplomacy & bravery that we will not violate those convictions. Let’s be brave & gracious in our conversations, with God’s wisdom, strength & love 🙂
I had an interesting experience in a conversation with a friend a few days ago as we were talking about various challenges in our lives. In the discussion, I opened up and shared some frustrations & struggles that have been on my heart, which may seem fairly harmless. After the conversation as I was walking to my car, I felt a bit of a gentle scolding in my heart from God. Some of His loving rebuke challenged me that sometimes I can be whiney: complaining about what isn’t going well, “venting” with my frustrations, etc. Even worse, I can get into a pity party & swallow the lie that I’m a loser. I think we can all fall into this trap from time to time.
I’m extremely confident that God was confronting & challenging me to change in His loving rebuke because the next morning, my Bible reading time just happened to be in Josh 1, where God commands Joshua 3 times to be strong & courageous. Furthermore, I also read Ps 103:1-5 where David beautifully magnifies the work of God in our individual lives.
So here are my take-aways (and perhaps they will encourage you as well):
- just because the evil one serves me a plate of discouragement doesn’t mean that I automatically pick up a fork & start ingesting his poisonous delicacies masquerading as a chummy conversation;
- be strong & courageous: may my ears & eyes be sensitive to hear & see God moving in my life (vertical focus) more than how I feel or what I see & hear on the horizontal plane;
- Be strong & courageous is a command from God & it obliterates my self-pity dribble
Perhaps on this Resurrection Weekend it would be constructive to celebrate the death of the “loser lie”. Indeed, when they crucified Jesus, many thought He was one of the world’s biggest losers, but He came back & annhilated the “loser lie.” So my friend, let me invite you to join me in receiving His lluminating imperative to be strong & courageous to evaporate any discouragement, deceptions & lies in our lives 🙂
Ever been in a situation where things are really dicey? Have you been around people or in settings where the weather conversation was over & then there was the awkward silence because no one could think of things to discuss that weren’t volatile or hurtful? I’ve been in some situations where i knew that people were testing me with the topics they brought up to see if i’d “take the bait.” i hate these awkward times, situations & interactions.
Here’s a possible solution – a few weeks ago i was reading 1 Corinthians 2 & in verse 2 it says, “I determined to know nothing among you except Christ & Him crucified.” This verse has really helped me because if i’m around other believers w a tricky conversation, i decide in my brain that i’m not going to be part of any gossip or negative discussions, but rather that I’m going to steer the dialogue to talking about Jesus & what He’s doing. This strategy has really helped keep my priorities & conversations to be godly! In the event that you’re around non-Christians, i think you can still make this determination by steering conversations to constructive topics (a quote from Mother Teresa, something positive you heard on the news, something good you’ve heard about a company or a positive way of looking at life).
I understand that from time to time, you’ve got to make confrontations & address problems, situations, communication strategies, etc. Nevertheless, i still think that making the decision to aim at knowing Christ & making Him known through various conversations is always a safe way to keep from walking on broken glass!! 🙂