We Can Impact Others by Being Intentional with Our Words
Are we someone who others want to talk to about spiritual matters? Are we open to pursue a meaningful spiritual conversation?
A Timely Phone Call
As I made lunch, my phone rang. Few people have my number—only family and close friends—so I expected another scam call. I prepared to reject the call and block the number. To my utter glee, the caller ID revealed that a valued friend was waiting to talk to me.
My heart leapt for joy. I know this sounds over the top, but it’s the best way I can describe it. Truly, my heart leapt with joy.
I was having an okay day, which was following a really bad day . . . or two, but hearing my friend’s voice changed everything. My day instantly turned from okay to great. Regardless of what we would say, I knew it would be good for my soul. I knew my spirit would rise and soar.
I forgot about lunch. It no longer mattered. My physical hunger disappeared. A spiritual delight would soon replace it. I knew it. That’s what a timely call from a good friend can do.
After we covered the initial reason for the call, we updated each other on our lives, what was going on, and where God was at work. We ended by praying for each other. It was a meaningful spiritual conversation. God was present. We had a holy moment. It was good. So good.
An Intentional Interaction
A few days later, my bride and I were at an open house. We saw a lot of people we knew, waving at or saying “hi” to many of them. We talked with a few others, polite social conversation, talk that’s a challenge for me to maintain for any length of time.
Though it was nice to see them and chat with them, what we said did nothing for my soul and, I suspect, nothing for theirs.
Then another good friend waved hi, surprised to see me. I expected another polite, short, and inconsequential exchange. But he approached me with both a smile and intention. After a few moments of small talk, we dove into conversation that matters.
He shared his spiritual journey with me. And my spirit lifted as we celebrated God’s work in his life, his family’s, and his church’s. He asked about me and my writing and my spiritual journey.
Although small talk challenges me, having a meaningful spiritual conversation flows with much greater ease. Go figure. Though I’d approached this social gathering with equal parts expectation and trepidation, I left having told my friend that our time together was, “good for my soul.” And it was.
My Heart Burned Within Me
My reaction to my friends’ interaction reminds me of the Emmaus-bound disciples after encountering the risen Jesus. They said to each other, “weren’t our hearts burning within us when he talked?” (Luke 24:32). That’s how I felt with my friends.
In both instances my friends took the initiative. But I was a willing participant, embracing their move past superficial exchange and into a meaningful spiritual conversation.
Other times I take the initiative and pursue meaningful interaction with others. Sometimes they squirm against this and in other instances they acquiesce with caution, but many times they gladly go in the direction where I lead. We dive into deep, meaningful spiritual conversation.
How to Pursue Significant Spiritual Conversations
I desire to have these deep, meaningful spiritual conversations all the time, but I don’t. I’m not sure why this happens sometimes while other times it doesn’t. I wish I could naturally move into meaningful spiritual discussions all the time, with ease and without giving it much forethought.
But I’m not there—yet. Until I am, there are steps I can take to recognize the potential for significance and move forward to make the best of it.
Pray for Opportunities: It starts with asking God to provide occasions where I can have a meaningful spiritual conversation with others. Without him playing a part in opening my eyes to see the opportunities around me and preparing the hearts of others to engage in significant discussions, there’s not much I can do on my own.
And, as a bonus, by praying for the chance to talk with people about spiritual matters, my attention focuses on others and allows me to seize the openings God provides.
Look for People Willing to Engage in Spiritual Discussions: Sometimes people who know me and my heart will approach me, asking for prayer, seeking encouragement, or wanting to share their concerns. However, usually I must be proactive.
This means looking for people to talk to, people who may be hurting, lonely, or in need.
Listen to The Holy Spirit: Most important is to listen to the gentle prompting of God’s Spirit. If I bother to pay attention, the Holy Spirit will direct me to people I should talk to. And often, he will tell me what to say or ask.I attempt to represent Jesus to them, and I hope their hearts warm when I do. Click To Tweet
The Outcome of Having a Meaningful Spiritual Conversation
When I do this, what happens next is astonishing. We enter into a holy moment. I attempt to represent Jesus to them, and I hope their hearts warm when I do, just as my heart burned within me after talking with my two friends.
This is what can happen when we have a meaningful spiritual conversation.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.