Holland: Communicating with a purpose
Published 11:55 am Friday, October 14, 2016
By Billy Holland
I have the opportunity to meet new people every week and I am grateful for this blessing. As I continue to pray for spiritual awareness, I realize the Lord has been patient with my own problems and has graciously allowed me to labor in the area of communication.
When having a conversation with someone, listening intently is the key to recognizing what is on their mind and in particular to discern where they are in their relationship with God. Most of the time the average person will stay in the shallow waters when it comes to subject matter with no intention of exposing their deeper thoughts.
I have actually heard individuals say, “it is no one’s business what I believe” and evidently they are convinced it’s more safe to tolerate serious discussions than being a part of them. With others, if a controversial topic comes to the surface, they may bite on it or they might wait to see how the other person responds and then adjust the conversation accordingly. Whatever the case, very rarely do I encounter someone that barges out of the gate with both barrels blazing.
Lately, I’ve had some very interesting discussions that once again remind me about how people see themselves spiritually. These are intelligent and highly-respected individuals but it did not take long to discover that God is not a part of their lives. In fact, they bristled at the very mention of His name.
This attitude is a subtle hostility of disrespect that caused me to feel as if I had said something inappropriate or offensive, and in the reality of spiritual warfare — I did. When anyone rejects God, it immediately sets off an alarm because I know these people are living on the edge of an eternity without hope and there is no way I can ignore that.
You see, beyond the communication we humans have with one another, there is an underlying reality that is directly connected to the soul. Maybe I am a little more discerning about this since I am a minister, but when I encounter someone whoneeds to be rescued by the mercy of God, I start looking for a life preserver as if someone has fallen overboard. To go a step further, I am also burdened about a world of individuals who have yet to reach out with faith for the truth that will set them free.
Within our prayers, it is important to remember being sensitive to those around us is crucial when attempting to communicate the gospel. These opportunities are commonly referred to as “divine appointments” because they are seen as God arranging the perfect time and place where we can speak into another person’s life which also provides a way for the Holy Spirit to draw others to The Almighty. When we lose our interest about the lost, this is a sign we have drifted away from His holy fire and have cooled off into a selfish and lukewarm state of being. Within the Christian life, we realize that our passion about evangelism exposes our level of spiritual love and concern for others.
At times I think about what it would take to get someone’s attention and I am reminded only God knows and my responsibility is to just follow His directions. I remember a classic story in Acts 9 about a man named Saul who was a highly educated and respected authority within the religious legal system. Unfortunately, he was also known to be one of the fiercest persecutors of Christians until the day he had a spiritual experience that changed him forever. I will let you read how this fascinating story ends, but allow me to conclude that God has a way to convict and transform even the hardest heart.
He is constantly urging us to pray for those we meet and desires that we develop an awareness within our conversations to relay what He is telling us to say as this could definitely make an eternal difference in someone’s life.
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