This week I had the privilege of spending a great deal of time with a seasoned, godly older man who has walked with God for sixty years. Observing this old war-horse of the faith, and reflecting back on others of his stripe, two traits seem to characterize their lives:
INTIMACY – I notice that they have cultivated the practice of moment-by-moment communion with Christ, when their minds are free from other obligations and demands. It is apparent that they have learned to bring Jesus into the little details of their lives. They seem in touch. The tone I pick up is one of sensitivity to His prompting, sensitivity to sin, dependency upon Him in the littlest of things, humility, gentleness, perhaps even brokenness. There is not the slightest air of superiority or self-promotion.
“I am the vine itself, you are the branches. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 – Phillips)
IMMEDIACY – It seems that they are forever, and everlastingly “at it.” Their antennas are up, aware, utilizing every opportunity to lovingly and graciously share the love of Christ with those who come into their orbit. Reflective indeed of Paul’s mind-set:
“So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, (evangelism) and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about Him, (discipleship) so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ Jesus. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me.” (Colossians 1:28, 29 – Phillips)
Perhaps their motto is: “if not you – who? If not now – When?”
In this sense of immediacy, there is no hint of pushiness or being overbearing. Notice the guidelines Paul gives, derived from Colossians 4:5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:24-26:
- Wise. Clever and skilled.
- Utilizing every opportunity. Immediacy.
- Gracious: Gentle, meek, humble, mild. Patient, enduring evil or ill-will.
- Salty: Pointed; not insipid; “an edge of liveliness” (Knox Translation)
- Correcting: Chastening, educating, teaching and training.
- Not quarrelsome: Not disputing or striving.
SUGGESTION: Can you take a moment and ask God, “Lord, if I am not walking intimately with you, why? And if I am lack a sense of immediacy in getting the Gospel to others, why?