Have you ever spent time with someone who is filled with the Spirit? A person gentle and forgiving as well as a source of spiritual wisdom? They are annoying.
Holy is actually a weird word for what I see and feel. These someones would not call themselves holy. It would be presumptuous and inaccurate from their perspective. They are just on the path like you and me, sharing their walk and experience as well as a deep love for our savior.
When I am with them, I feel challenged and discouraged. I feel small and unworthy. It’s a little confusing to me because I also feel peaceful, encouraged and learning. I want to be more like them in my relationship with Christ, my confidence on leaning on Christ and the peace that those people have. I just don’t have it. I don’t know if I am ever going to get there, if there is really a there to get to. I can name 3-4 people right now that match that description. They are so plugged into their faith that they don’t even have the decency to judge me for my doubts and mistakes. How rude! The slightest insult and I could walk away in a huff and discard what they have said. I don’t get it from them- I just get love. <sigh> They have a bucket of what Paul describes in (2 Peter 1:5-9)
I know that comparison is a sin of pride. But the truth is that I know what to do, I just don’t do it (Romans 7:18).
I had coffee with one of these Christ-followers recently. We talked about the path that each of us is on. His path includes a life of mission ministry in a very dangerous and discouraging part of the world. Each day he deals with people who want to steal from him or be violent to him. Each day he goes out in faith as the hands and feet of God. He’s a smiler. Easy-going, a little bit groovy if that’s still a thing and just loves people. I told him that I envied his faith and fearlessness. He laughed, “Dude, I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to do. You are too. Unless told otherwise by the Holy Spirit, serve God here and do your thing.”
I think that I wanted him to provide a little bit more defined purpose that I should pursue for God. Actually, I wanted him to judge me. At least a little bit of judgment on his part because I live in safe suburbia, not a place of difficult mission work. Comparison is a sin of pride. I am on my own path. People encourage me, teach me through example and study of the Word as well as prayers with me and for me. These people are fellow Christ-followers. I may be doing the same thing for others. I may be in a period of rest and reflection as God prepares me for other work. I don’t know. I am here, doing what I do, praying, listening and talking to others on the journey. I encourage others to join us on the journey through conversation, love, listening and prayer. These are things I understand to do because I have heard these as a constant and universal mission for all Christ-followers.
God embedded talents in me and he wants a return on these investments for his glory, not my entertainment and demonstration of personal cleverness, (Luke 19:11-27). I love this parable as a way to understand that there are no gifts from God. He invests in us. He wants a return on his investment because everything is his. Fellow Christ-followers are investing their talents on behalf of God into me and others so that we will bear fruit for God’s glory. I’m not surprised that I like to spend time with them, but I am surprised that they are so willing to spend time with me. My humility does not overwhelm me to be sure, (my brother would be laughing so hard right now). I read 1 Thessalonians 5:5-11 and the encouragement it provides me is demonstrated in the love of these Christ-followers.
Here’s something to do - Name a couple of people who meet the characteristics that I have listed in this post. Then go spend more time with them. Basketball, watching a game, small group bible study, coffee, lunch…the list is endless. Frequency is important. There are simple questions to ask-
Where are you in your faith walk?
What are you reading now?
Are there preachers that you like to watch their YouTube videos of their sermons?
I have a small group like this. We tease each other and talk about life. We get together for breakfast and our conversations include some versions of answers to the three questions. I’m surrounded by people who are on the walk with me, teaching and sharing. Maybe they are saints? I don’t know, but I know I am loved and encouraged and that is a really great place to be. Because I am with them, I come closer to Christ and seek to be a better version of me.
Who do you spend time with? Do you have some “saints” in your life to walk the journey with you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.