April 15, 2009

A Convicting Dream

It was a most unlikely dream. My oldest son is at a men’s soccer team lunch. He is asked to pray for the food and in his prayer, he shares the gospel. One of the players responds and experiences salvation. Our son asks our next-door neighbor to disciple this new Christian. He already knows him, so says that is not a problem. I wake up.

The dream is unlikely because our oldest son is not into sports of any kind. Besides that, soccer teams are at the bottom of the list for saying table prayers, and our next-door neighbor is not a Christian (yet). But the dream did set me up for the devotional reading today. It says,
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)
Most people have experienced that “I should have said . . .” regret after a conversation. This verse is telling me that if God is set apart, or put in first place in my heart, I will be more apt to talk about Him and know what to say when given opportunity to share what I believe.

This isn’t about being annoying or shoving my beliefs down the throats of others. It isn’t about “in your face” God-talk that pushes people away. It is about having a reverence for God and respect for those who are interested in Him, and being willing to tell them about my faith.

My husband encountered this last week. He’d been in touch with a cousin who lives on the other side of the world. I’m not sure of their conversation, but the cousin said, “I wish I had your faith.” While not a question, this sounds like someone wanting to know a reason for the hope that my husband displays.

When this happens to me, I’m too often thinking about other things rather than the reasons why I believe and have hope. The questions or comments blind-side me and by the time I think of what I should say, the conversation has gone somewhere else.

The last phrase is also part of my problem. Meekness and fear are about my attitudes toward my own abilities and toward the God whom I serve. Being meek is not a weakness. It is gentleness, a quiet and submissive spirit that trusts God for everything. It is the opposite of feisty, self-defending and controlling. If I am not meek, then I am thinking about myself, my rights, my ideas, etc., and not at all ready to share my faith and tell someone how I depend on God.

Fear is about total awe and respect for the power of God. While that attitude is easy to slip into with very little effort, it does require that I think about Him. If I’m talking to someone else and thinking about me, mine, or even them and their words only, God is not likely to be part of what I say.

In my dream, most men my son’s age (mid forties) at a soccer team lunch would be thinking how a prayer in Jesus’ name would rile some of the muscular men around the table. Most would be fearful of the responses if they told these tough guys that they are sinners who need a Savior.

However, this son is normally outspoken about what he believes. His willingness to speak up sometimes gets him in hot water. When in high school, he was kicked out for a short time because he stood up for what the Bible says about a certain issue. I’m not nearly so courageous and could take a page out of his book.

That is probably why he was in the dream — and not me.

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