Friday, January 27, 2012

Encouraging Each Other

So often I get the feeling that a lot of Christians I have been with are very timid about expressing their deep feelings for God. They are very comfortable with being known as a Christian, an active member of a church, able to quote scripture. But, ask some to testify to how they feel and they are very timid and slow to jump up and open their hearts. "Ask me what I know, but don't ask me what I feel."

Standing outside the sanctuary of worship we open our hearts readily and enthusiastically to one another on many other subjects. "Did you see that purse that Jane was carrying? I LOVE that purse!" "Hey, George! Watch that new running back on our team. I LOVE to watch him dart through the openings those great linemen give him!" It's so easy to express our love for the outside things in life. Where is our passion for the only One thing in our lives that counts for anything? What causes our reluctance to verbalize our deep love for Him?

There are many reasons that this can happen. Some are just naturally shy, not ever comfortable with public expression of love. Some find it difficult to put into words the depth and extent of their faith. Some are afraid, afraid of what others will think of them, afraid they will appear to be attention grabbing, afraid to be seen as foolish and, heaven forbid, emotional. Perhaps they've experienced others being very quick to demonstrate and voice their thoughts and feelings, and they have thought these things about them.

God has made each of us uniquely. We each have our own personality that dictates to us how we respond to life. You are extroverted. I am introverted. He is stoic. She is an emotional cripple! All of us wanting to be like the other. Some of us thanking the Father that they are not like me. But, it seems to me that when we are speaking of our Creator, our Savior, or our Comforter that we should be so expressive as to humble ourselves prostrate on the floor, in the mud, as low as we can get to tell and show the world and our brothers and sisters in Christ how deeply and passionately we adore Him. Jesus made Himself "nothing" the bible says, and died a reprobate's death on the cross for ME, for YOU! How can I hold back anything from Him?

In a bible study group last night I was brought to tears by a woman in our midst. She is naturally a quiet and reserved lady. Her observations to us can sometimes be few, and when she does speak her words can be measured, reserved and quiet. But, last night when she spoke of the Holy Spirit a passion came into her voice and onto her face that surprised and delighted me. Speaking of the Holy Spirit she said forcefully, "I LONG for the Holy Spirit! I LOVE the Holy Spirit so much. I am drawn to Him, and I FEEL His presence!" About Jesus she impressed upon us, "Jesus is so real to me. And the Holy Spirit is so real to me!"

Such simple words spoken in love and devotion gripped my heart. These are words that I could echo, but I hadn't. And hearing them from her was a blessing to me that is just unspeakable. Her words filled me with His love, His presence, and reminded me that I am not alone in this wicked world. I have brothers and sisters who feel just like I feel about Him. I have this wonderful soul mate sitting with me, hardly able to express the depth of her love, but doing it anyway, with halting, tearful words.

One woman I know was challenged on her faith and simply quoted, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so." Another man stood up in church one night, a very distinguished and composed man, and with tears on his face simply said, "Jesus paid it all."

Let us all remember that we who love God are all challenged in so many ways to open ourselves up and spill out all that we can to show Him our gratitude and praise. Each word we speak, as simple as they must be to Him is music to His ears, makes God want to smile and sing over us. And, each time you speak a word of worship and praise, another brother or sister is reminding themselves of their own feelings and are encouraged, not only to speak, but to strive to draw closer and to be more like Christ. We owe each other the blessing of sharing Him with one another.

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