Tuesday, September 20, 2011

To Stir or Not to Stir

I will not mention his name.  I was approached by someone at church about a very well-known Bible teacher on the radio who said it was wrong to go up to people at church and ask them if they have been reading the Bible or praying.  We encourage this at church and the person was confused, especially because of the respect factor for this Bible teacher.  Now, I did not hear the message and cannot find what broadcast it was to double check it.  Because of that, I am not using his name.  I don't want to start a fight based on wrong information.

However, IF the information was passed on to me correctly and the statement is accurate, is it wrong to walk up to someone at church and ask questions about their spiritual disciplines?  Let me back track.  The given reason as to why this is wrong to do is because, according to this Bible teacher, Bible ask the question out of arrogance and a desire to put people down rather than build them up.  I will concede that point.  I am sure there is an abundance of people who want to boast of their own spiritual disciplines and ask others about what they do in an effort to make themselves look more spiritual.  However, does that make asking the question in and of itself wrong?  I could make an argument, following that line of reasoning, that because some preachers do what they do to make a name for themselves and get rich, then nobody should preach.  That doesn't make any sense.  Just because there is abuse, that does not make non-use the proper response.  The proper response to do what the Bible says to do.

What does the Bible tell us to do?  It calls us to encourage one another daily.  It calls us to stir one another up.  It says that iron sharpen iron.  Now, how do we do such things?  Certainly, these types of verses are not a mandate to ask someone about their daily Bible reading habits.  However, asking that of people could certainly be considered to fall under the umbrella of applying those verses.

When I go to the dentist, he asks me if I brush my teeth and floss daily.  He asks me if I am drinking a lot of soda and eating candy.  I get that.  He is in the business of caring for my teeth.  Even though the questions may make me uncomfortable with conviction at times, I wouldn't expect anything less from him.  When I go to the doctor, he asks if I am eating right and exercising. I get that.  He is in the business of caring for my health.   Even though the questions may make me uncomfortable with conviction at times, I wouldn't expect anything less from him.

As believers, we are to care for the spiritual health of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Sure, some go about it the wrong way or with wrong motives.  But, when we gather as followers of Jesus  - people who want to be spiritually healthy, why do we recoil when someone asks us a simple question like, "Have you been reading God's Word this week?"  Shouldn't we expect that to be asked?  Shouldn't we want that to be asked?

When I brush take good care of my teeth, I do not flinch when the dentist asks me about my brushing, flossing and eating habits.  When I am eating right and exercising, I do not flinch when my doctor asks about those things.  The only time I break a sweat is when I have not been doing so good and I feel guilty.  But that guilt is not a bad thing.  It is good.  I recognize that I have not been doing what I need to do for my health, and it motivates me to not feel this way the next time I sit in their respective offices.

If we are reading God's Word, we shouldn't flinch when someone asks us if we are.  The only time we hate the question is when we hate our honest answer.  We hate feeling guilty, so we hate the one who brought on the guilt rather than being motivated to make the necessary changes in our lives.  

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