"How's your Spiritual Life?"
I had lunch recently with a good friend and mentor. I met him at his “office” as I have done many times over the last three or four years…the Bob Evans Restaurant on East Washington Street, here in Indianapolis. He started the conversation as he nearly always does:
“Mike, how’s your spiritual life?”Have you ever had someone ask you that? I mean, we often ask each other things like: “How’s it going?” or “How are you doin’?” We don’t actually want to know…we are just being courteous. It’s another way of saying hello. My friend’s question, though, will make you pause. It does a few other things too, like….
Make you nervous.Make you embarrassed.
Make you want to slide down under the table and hide!The first time he asked me that question, I was caught off guard. Not because I had never before been asked that or a similar question. Rather, it was because it hadn’t happened in a long time, and never since becoming a member at Southeastern. I was caught off guard…and a bit embarrassed because at the time, my spiritual life was less than stellar. When that happens, you have a choice to make: Will I be honest or will I hide? In my case, I was sort of honest. “Sort of.” That means that I didn’t want to really hide…I wanted to tell the truth…but, I was also embarrassed and didn’t want to be completely straightforward. So, I hemmed and hawed…I admitted to some struggles, but I lacked detail. That said, you know, I walked away from that encounter refreshed. I felt better because someone had pushed me to be open even just a little bit with what was on the inside, and my struggles had leaked out some. It felt good to have someone care enough to ask me how I was doing. I felt like I had company on my spiritual journey.
During our most recent lunch, when he asked me that question, I answered like this:“Keith, I try real hard to be doing really well anytime I’m going to have lunch with you. Don’t ask me about last week, and next week isn’t here yet, but for right now, I’m doing pretty good.”
He nearly fell of his chair in laughter. Never, in all the years that he’s been asking that question, had anyone answered it in quite that way.But, you see, that’s the glory of great spiritual relationships…especially relationships where there is a sense of mentoring or discipleship. They drive you to be better than you would be otherwise. They influence you to focus on the facets of life that are primary and of highest importance. Like the Six Million Dollar Man, they make you better than you were before. (Children of the 70’s will get that reference.) I am a better man today because there have been a handful of men over the years (along with my wife) who have taken the time to really ask me how my walk with God is doing, and through their influence my life has been changed and continues to change for the better.
Here are a couple of scriptures to emphasize my thoughts:Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
To the point of my post, we need to care enough to ASK and LISTEN to one another. We need to show an interest in the lives (interests) of each other.This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7
When we hold all our mess inside, are we not hiding in the darkness?
We need to have folks in our lives that will help us drag it all out in the light. We need to be honest with God, and we need to be honest with one another….and we can then have real fellowship with both God and our friends.
Thank you Keith.So, to my Southeastern family……
How is YOUR spiritual life?