When was the last time you talked to somebody about something spiritual? Not just “How did church go?” or “I liked that worship song we did today.” but a real, vulnerable, and deep conversation about the spirituality of life as a whole or where you are at spiritually.
Last week? Last month? Last year?
It is also possible that you might have said none of the above, or maybe even NEVER to all of those questions.
Christians Talking About Spirituality
In the report “Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age” by the Barna Group, there were some thought-provoking findings. It found that 3 out of 4 Christians rarely have a spiritual conversation with anyone. That means that the likelihood of anyone reading this piece right now is one of those 3 out of 4 is pretty high.
Now that by itself is cause enough to pause and say, why is nobody talking? It makes me think back to all the evangelistic centered messages I heard in church and about all of the ways in which apologetics (i.e. defending your faith) was brought up, but that has become less and less a part of the average Christians conversation.
It’s like seeing a brand new movie, let’s say The Avengers, for the first time. You think it’s the best movie you’ve seen in a while and you have all of this background history with the comics and how it all intertwines but you walk right out of the movie theater and never talk about it with anyone. Better yet, none of your friends talk about it either except for that one guy that everybody avoids because he refuses to shut up about it. All of this would seem a little counterproductive given how excited you were a few minutes ago and how much of the history and adventures you know so much about.
However, it truly seems by that statistic that people want an alternative approach to sharing their spirituality because just talking about it doesn’t seem to quite cut it.
What We All Want
In the same report by Barna Group, it was concluded that 2 out of 3 Christians said that how they lived was more important to “evangelizing” over going up to someone and talking about it. In fact, the study found that 65% of Christians agreed that it’s better to share your faith in the way you live life instead of speaking about it.
Now, I would say I would have voted with the majority as well! I believe it is a vital teaching that Jesus practiced Himself so often, that we can say the right things all day long but if our life doesn’t match up, then what’s the proof? We all, as Christians, desire to live a life that matches up with what we believe. Nobody wants to be a hypocrite. Now sometimes we miss the mark, mess up, and do the very things we say we don’t want, but that is what grace is for, so we can always get back on track.
Grouping together the first initial statistic that said a huge majority don’t even speak about spirituality, as well as the second that the majority think it’s more about living and less about being all talk, there is a glaring theme. In James 1 it talks about how we shouldn’t just be “hearers of the word, but doers”. There needs to be some activity on our part that therefore changes our spirituality to a lifestyle that invokes others to look at their own life and what they believe in.
James 1:22 “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
Doing AND Speaking
It really all boils down to attraction. If you are someone that lives their life as Jesus did, it will naturally bring others in. You don’t need to throw scriptures at people, or act so crazy that people don’t want to be around you. Jesus actually did speak about spiritual things very often, but they were always in the context of relationship. He wanted people to first know they were worth being known and seen before diving into the deep stuff.
I think we can all agree that there is a huge difference when we are around someone that is life-giving, encouraging, uplifting, and a huge light in our life. We can and should be that for others around us, resulting in their asking the question, “What’s so different about them?” without even having to say a word.
What The Christian Lifestyle Should Be
John 4 tells us the story of Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman at the well. In short, this woman had been married five times and then currently was living with someone who she wasn’t married to, and therefore was considered an outcast. Jesus walks up and begins talking to her, which would be very frowned upon in that day and age, but He didn’t care.
His only intent was to let this woman know that she was worth being seen and known. He didn’t want to expose her or make her feel stupid or less than anybody else. He wanted to show her that she was worth His time, instead of just telling a message of unconditional love, He showed it. Jesus was the epitome of what the majority of Christians want today, which is authenticity and a real lifestyle of Christianity.
The message of the Gospel isn’t about spirituality, it’s about loving people. Loving people, not just in words, but in action. That’s what the Christian lifestyle should be for all of us.