If you ever meet me in person, you may be surprised. I'm not quite the outspoken individual my written words make me out to be. On the contrary, I'm completely comfortable with silence, thriving in one-on-one interactions and small group settings. And when I'm thrown into a big group of unfamiliar faces? I usually clam up, smile awkwardly, and stumble over a few words. I'm absolutely uncomfortable in that sort of setting. Here's the deal though. Jesus said,
“'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. . .'”
He wants me to go. So, although I'm perfectly content in my introverted, quiet world, God calls me to get out and reach the lost. And while I know I am obeying his command in written forms, I realize I am in need of much growth in other areas. Like when I'm at the grocery store. There are many unfamiliar faces there. I'm not the best at drumming up a conversation with a stranger. I've tried it. Believe me, it's sometimes awkward. But, the more I spend time with my Father, the more I hear him calling me out of my comfort zone—to speak to those I don't know and to trust in the work he will do through me.
What about you? Maybe you can't relate to my introvert tendencies. Either way, I bet we have at least one common ground when it comes to talking to people. We're both drawn to people who are similar to us, whether it's similar cultures, styles, or likes. Wouldn't you agree? And if we were like any other person in this world, we might be completely okay sticking to people in our own crowd.
But guess what? We're not like any other person in the world. We are Christians, and God calls us to show ALL people extravagant, unconditional love. This includes reaching out to strangers or other people we are not naturally drawn to.
This week, let's pray for opportunities to share love with someone this week. It's easy to love friends or family, but let's think beyond these realms, and pray for divine opportunities. Personally, my goal is to engage at least one stranger in conversation this week.
As we conclude our study of 1, 2, and 3 John, we are again reminded of the characteristics of a true Christian. And, as you know, loving others is not only evidence of a true Christian, it is also a command. Please consider joining in the study even if you have opted out in previous weeks. We will be in 2 and 3 John. Click here for the reading guide. Let's begin by reading a passage from this week.
“And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 5-6, NIV
As you read these verses, consider the following:
1) What does it mean to “walk in love”?
2) Think of one practical way you can love someone whom you usually don't associate with.
Photo: Ian Schneider