I have made an observation as I’ve walked through life. We don’t have many spiritual discussions. Oh, we casually comment that God is good when the unexpected works out beautifully. We thank Him when we see the protection that He has placed on us and those around us. We scatter popcorn praises through everyday life, acknowledging His hand. And that is all good.
But, we don’t really and truly discuss spiritual things. Our conversation with one another doesn’t include bits and pieces of what we gleaned in our morning devotional reading. When we are deep in discussion, we don’t say, "You know, I remember something from Isaiah that really relates to this." Well, we might when we’re sitting in a Sunday school class, but not in normal conversation.
I think it all comes back to fear and timidity. We’re not theologians. The average, everyday Christian has never attended seminary or taken Bible classes. Consequently, we end up afraid that the other person in the conversation is going to swim out deeper than we’re prepared to follow. Much easier to just stay in the shallow in the first place.
Or maybe I’m the only one like that—and I’ve even had Biblical studies classes from some pretty awesome college professors!
It reminds me of my approach to running. I’ve never liked to run. Many friends throughout my life have loved to run. I tried it a couple of times in college. My roommate latched onto one of those incremental walk/run plans that train your body to work up to a solid run. I didn’t last long, convinced I was going to die. Put me up against a walker of any height or speed, and I can hold my own. I can even sometimes keep up with a jogger. But, running has never been my strong suit. So, I’ve always avoided it.
Last year I wanted to try again. My husband was trying to work up from a walk/run to a full three miles of running. But, running alone is tough, so I decided to try to do it with him. It was a pretty funny sight. We’d be right together on the walking part, but as soon as he started running, a gap would develop between us. I tried the first day to keep up with him, but his stride was just too much for me. My short legs couldn’t handle it! Our solution was for each of us to run at our own pace. When it was time to walk, he turned around and came back to me.
There will always be times in spiritual discussions when we cannot keep up. Maybe the conversation stretches beyond our knowledge. Maybe it starts in unfamiliar territory. Maybe it challenges us. Maybe it raises questions we can’t answer. But, if we never try, we automatically fail. Why? Because Scripture tells us over and over just how important it is to impart the Word of God to those who come behind us. It stresses that our primary responsibility is to make disciples. It stresses the necessity of making sure our children know the Word. How can we accomplish any of those things without being willing to step out and participate in spiritual, Scriptural, and theological discussions?
My husband and I now just walk together. He might try running again in the future. As for me, I doubt I will ever be a solid runner. So, I walk with Doug and encourage him when he runs. I can tell you, though, that I feel better for having tried. That’s an accomplishment in my book, not a failure.
You may never be a teacher of theology. But I guarantee you will have spiritual influence over someone around you. What kind of spiritual influence are you going to have? Are you going to be the one who teaches those around you that spiritual discussion is best left for Sunday school or a meeting with the pastor? Or are you going to dive in, risk not knowing something, and work Scripture and truths of God into even the most average of conversations? Who knows but that the willingness you or I have to incorporate spiritual truth into every day discussion might just be encouragement needed to motivate the next great evangelist. Who are we to let fear rob us of that privilege?