Monday, June 21, 2010

Courtesy vs. Confrontation

“For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.”  John 3:34

Jesus said some of the most confusing things! Reading his conversation with Nicodemus is just downright confusing. Jesus, what are you talking about? Poor Nicodemus just wanted to find out if Jesus was the messiah or not, but instead he’s met with all this talk about being born again and testimonies from heaven and such. I think I probably would have said something like, “Give it to me straight, Jesus!” But the thing about Jesus was that He was never really concerned with answering the questions people thought they had. He posed new questions and/or addressed the question/answer they needed. He didn’t mind confounding people. He didn’t mind leaving them to ponder and consider truth on their own. He always knew exactly what should be said, and it was rarely what people wanted to hear. He spoke the words of God, drawing from a limitless well of wisdom, knowledge and insight made available by the Holy Spirit. “God does not give the Spirit by measure.”

Sometimes I think I get a little preoccupied with telling people what I think they want to hear. I don’t like stirring the pot. I don’t like confronting the exclusivity of my faith, especially if it causes people to walk away or be offended. But Jesus wasn’t afraid. Jesus didn’t avoid talking about the difficulties of following Him and embracing His message. I think if I operated more like Jesus and less like me, I would find that I say exactly what needs to be said at the precise time it needs to be said – even if people walk away; even if people think I’m foolish or crazy or close-minded. I’m not doing anyone any favors by making the Gospel easy to swallow. It is Good News, but it’s a narrow road.

If I want to be effective, if I want to say what needs to be said, then I must draw from that same limitless well that Jesus did. I must speak the words of God by the measureless power of the Holy Spirit. It’s the only way I can know I’m saying the right thing at the right time. And it’s the only way I can have assurance that even if someone walks away, they heard what they needed to hear.

Lord, forgive me for being more concerned with courtesy than with confrontation. Help me, as one who has been sent, to speak Your word by Your Spirit. Help me do so boldly and without regret. Redeem what I’ve squandered and give me more opportunities to engage people the way Jesus did. Give me wisdom and understanding, but more than anything, give me Your presence and Your Spirit’s power. Thank you for including me in Your plans and purposes. I want my life to bring You glory.

This is straight out of my journal. I have more thoughts on all this business and plan to write a follow-up soon... :)