Hope for Every Conversation
A Christian is a person whose life is filled with the reality of hope. It's not a feeling of hope. It's not a possibility of hope. It's not even a strong likelihood of hope. It's a reality of hope that's real because the death and resurrection of Christ are real.
Every second of the Christian life is spent in this reality. Think about it. The worst position you could find yourself in today is hidden in Christ. Meaning every millisecond of your life is saturated with hope because of Jesus Christ.
The reason it's so important to recognize, rest, and rejoice in this reality today is that we live in a world that's filled with hopelessness.
Just watch the social media feeds, the evening news, and the protests on the streets. There are many reasons people will give you to be hopeless. There is a long list of reasons people want to grumble and complain. Being cynical about everything is the cultural climate we live in. It's the air we breathe.
However, the people of God are far from hopeless. The people of God are hope-filled because of Jesus Christ.
So, how do we bring this gospel of hope to every conversation we find ourselves in:
1. Change the Topic
For the first time in history, “weather” has been bumped from the top spot of conversation fillers. We have all done it before, “What about this weather? It was hot today! ” Yet, now the new question is “What about the coronavirus? What about these crazy times?”
We can even do this with other believers. We can fill our conversations with COVID-19 instead of Christ. While it might be the easiest subject to talk about, it stirs many with anxiety, worry, frustration - not with hope.
My encouragement for us as Christians is to change the topic. Put the focus on what’s eternal. Let's turn our eyes to Jesus.
I am reading a book right now by Randy Newman called “Questioning Evangelism?” The premise of the book is “The person who controls the questions, actually controls the conversation.” This means you don't have to do all the talking. Just be a good listener and ask good questions like “What brings you the most hope today? How does the slower place of life help you see what truly matters? Where do you find joy?"
2. Change the Tone
If you jump on much social media today - you wouldn’t say it’s hope-filled. If anything you would find a place with grumbling and complaining. A place where people go to start arguments and to air out all their frustrations.
Sadly, the church’s tone sounds no different. Ask yourself if you are a Christian: "If someone read all your posts on social media, would they find a tone of joy? Would they see someone who treasures Jesus more than anything?"
But the same can be true of our face to face conversations. Honestly, our personal interactions are even more important and have more potential for real change! We put way too much hope in our gotcha statements on Facebook or Twitter.
So ask yourself: Do my conversations have a tone of complaining, frustrations, anxiety, or hopelessness? Or do my conversations bring a tone of peace, joy, and hope? Do they stir people’s affections for Jesus? When I walk into a room does the temperature change for the better or the worse?”
3. Change the Target
How many of our conversations simply aim at the mind. Let me share with you the latest statistic. Have you heard about this news story? Check out the new protocol from the CDC. Did you watch the NBA playoffs last night?
We give people so much information to feel their minds but are we ever really engaging their hearts? As Paul Tripp says, “The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.” As Christians, we must target the hearts of people.
Next conversation you find yourself seeking to engage what's going on in people's hearts. Find out what they really love. Seek to see what they truly treasure. Ask people how they feel right now. See what brings them the most joy. Dig deep to discover why they feel so anxious during this season. Then give them the hope of a saturated love of Jesus.
There are studies that show that the Gen Z generation (young people born between 1997 and 2012) have never lived during a time where they feel secure. Being raised in a post-9/11 world, they see stability as an illusion. Certainty is a wish dream. Security is an impossibility for their lives. No wonder this generation - and the world is filled with anxiety, worry, and hopelessness.
While the world seems to be falling apart, the church has a firm place to stand. A place of certainty. A place of security. A place of hope. “On Christ, the Solid Rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand." And in a fear-filled and anxious world, this hope is too good to keep to ourselves.