“I won’t take any advise from someone unless I know their spiritual life.” Her voice was stern, determined, with an unswayable undertone that made my fingertips grip my mouse tighter. There were a couple of empty tables between the couple and myself, yet even with the coffee grinder whirling and the chatter of baristas, I could hear her words clearly.
“I won’t take any advise from someone unless I know their spiritual life.”
I don’t mean to be eavesdropping. There really is no excuse. As a writer who has taken several writing courses that encourages to observe the people, the stories happening in our ordinary spaces, I tend to ‘tune’ into conversations without a lot of effort. Mostly I pay attention to ‘sound bites’, clips of words that my imagination can expand on as well as voice inflections and speech patterns.
Sometimes though a conversation heightens all my senses.
I know I don’t ever get the full-story.
But the words, the clips can cause me to pause enough to grab my pen or open Scrivener on my lap top.
“She’s teaching about mindset and how most of our problems have to do with mindset…I won’t take advise from anyone unless I know their Christian….”
“Even if a doctor says it’s depression and gives advise how to deal with it but I won’t take advise from her unless I know her spiritual direction…”
Later asking the Mexican barista…”I’m going to Mexico and want to teach these people about God….”
Leaving the cafe, commenting to her companion…”well I don’t care….”
I don’t hear the words clearly, and could be mistaken, but the tone is dismissive.
And a story idea begins to form.
Christian fiction writer, Ted Dekker, teaches that our character’s journey in the stories we write can explore our own faith questions.
So I found myself typing out the questions…
What would happen if a Christian never took advise from someone they did not see as ‘spiritual enough?’ Is that obeying or disobeying God? Would our lives be richer or smaller?
Currently I do take advise from others that are not of my faith, my trust often secured by their expertise from academia, experience and/or referral. My physician, nutritional counsellors, professional fitness trainers to name a few.
However, it can be tough to know what information is really true, to take in and apply when it flies at us from so many directions like a snow squall.
Life can be complicated that way, can’t it?
Recently my bible study led me to Paul’s journey to Berea.
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11
And I pondered about the teachings of Jesus– would I have listened and accepted this new view being presented? Or been angry? Even dismissive?
Or eager like the Berean Jews?
Although they did not just take in Paul’s word and believe.
These listeners also examined the Scriptures evaluating Paul’s sermons for themselves so they could trust or dismiss his teachings.
And, I imagine, the many that became believers must have been quite delighted to come to the conclusion that is was all true!
As a result, many of them believed, as did a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. Acts 17:12
To even listen in the first place to Paul and Silas, they would have had an open-mind to these two teachers that wandered into town and into their place of worship.
They listened with eagerness AND discerning hearts, putting into practice Paul’s teachings that we read in Colossians.
So see to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world, rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8
Carefully they examined Paul’s words against the scriptures they’d been studying and knew to be true. I imagine, too, being already very familiar with scripture, they would have had the word hidden in their hearts as taught by Psalms.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
We are taught well how to evaluate spiritual teachings .
We are to be open-minded and eager to listen. However, we are to verify and evaluate comparing what we hear with with what we know is true–God’s word in scriptures.
And the more we know the trust worthy source of The Word the more we are safeguarded against false-teachings.
All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
As for never taking advise from others, even doctors, that do not share our spiritual believes like the cafe lady I eavesdropped on…? Hmm… I may just follow Ted Dekker’s advise and explore the concept through fiction! Do you think it would make a compelling story?
Lynn J Simpson, Author/Coach/Photographer at Inspiring Hope in You
Linking up this week with #TellHisStory