Donald Miller is one of my favorite pop-contemporary Christian writers. I enjoy his brutal honesty, his sharp insights, and I admire his ability to write well. Donald recently posted this blog, and I’m sharing it with you, as it reflects my desire to become more naturally supernatural. Thanks Donald!
“Whenever we spot spiritual openness in our friends and neighbors, we are then confronted with the huge internal question: How do I respond without totally messing them up?! Faced with what feels like a high risk on any reasonable cost-benefit analysis, most of us simply bail out or, at best, do something slightly half-hearted that is merely bemusing for our friend to witness.
For a long time I struggled with sharing my faith in a way that had real meaning but didn’t risk blowing up a friendship. Then I had a revelation moment: I need to stop treating my lost friends differently from my Christian friends.
We do that all the time. When a Christian friend is sick or stressed, I’ll pray for them right there and then. When they need encouraging, I’ll share with them what Jesus is saying to me this week. When they are in need, I’ll serve them practically. But with our lost friends, all too often we either water-down our faith, seemingly losing the Jesus from our lives (or alternatively turn into some hyper-spiritual nutcase!)
This is a failure to respect your friend enough to be who you really are – to trust that the person they know and like includes the spiritual you, and thus Jesus-in-you. The underlying problem is that we live a dualistic life: operating one way with Christians, but another way with the lost. Instead, we need to treat our lost friends the same way we treat our Christian friends, so that the authentic, Jesus-loving you can shine through.
How Do I Live This Out?
To take things a step further, here are 4 ways to respond to your friends – both Christian and non-Christian – in a naturally supernatural way. These 4 questions, or tools, are always available for you to select from in any situation:
1. ”Can I pray for you?”
If they have a need, or are sick, or are worried about something, stop right there and then to pray for your friend. Be open to God giving you a word of encouragement, strengthening or comfort – and share it simply and naturally with them, in everyday language. Interestingly, even if there is no directly observable answer, your non-Christian friends will be really touched by your sincere expression of love. And when God DOES answer that simple prayer of faith… amazing conversations follow!
2. ”Can I serve you?”
Babysit, cook a meal, make them a cup of tea (the godly response to almost all the world’s problems!), give a hug, mow their lawn. Whatever you do, the point is to stop and help. (And be looking to invite them to join you in serving others – as you go together, the Spirit of the Lord goes with you.)
3. ”Can I share my story?”
Whether it is your big story of how you first met God, or (more usually) your story from this week of what Jesus is saying to you, your walk with the Lord is amazingly impactful upon others, if you have built an authentic relationship with them. Listen to and respect their story, but also don’t be bashful to share your own story. God has given it you for a reason.
4. ”Can I share God’s story?”
As you pray, serve and share your story, you will find yourself in that holy moment where you can go deeper still. There is a time and place to share the content of the Gospel, to help your friend come face-to-face with the power of the Bible as it reveals the story of God to us. Obviously you won’t download it all in one sitting, so let the Holy Spirit lead you in selecting a relevant narrative, theme or verse. You will point them to the One who is the ultimate expression of being naturally supernatural, so that they in turn can play their part in extending His Kingdom to others.
We are called to share the words and works of Jesus. Let’s use these four questions to live a life that is naturally supernatural.
CONSIDER: How can you be more naturally supernatural over the next 7 days?