Do we support society’s standard with our conversational questions? Is that different than Christ’s standard?
Recently Pastor Doug Hankins preached a sermon where he reference that everyone has a master status–the most important thing in somebody’s life that they identify with the most. For example—I am a mother, I am a wife, I am a southerner, or I am a Tarheel fan. Pastor Hankins said that as Christians, Scripture should define our master status. Galations 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” We should first identity as a Christian, and everything else is second.
This sermon, this idea of master status has really challenged me. It has made me think about how I demonstrate to other Christians what I think about their master status. Am I, as 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “encouraging and building others up” with my careless and casual inquiries? I have decided that I am failing at this!
Questions to Answer
- What are the first few questions you ask another Christian when you are getting to know them or when connecting with a Christian that you have not seen in a while?
- Is the first question you ask a senior in high school “So, where are you going to college?”
- Have you ever said to another person as you are walking by, “Hey, how are you?” but your feet don’t stop you from moving away from them?
- Have you ever lied to someone when they have asked you how you are doing with a pat, “just great”?
Do you see what I am getting at? How are you doing at helping others to define the master status of Christ follower? Let’s break it down.
What are the first few questions you ask another Christian when you are getting to know them or when connecting with a Christian that you have not seen in a while?
I would guess that most of these questions reference what a person does for a living, their families and where they are living. It is easy to ask someone to ask these types of question. Society tells us that what we do, where we do it and who we do it with are important. But remember that Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Our works matter very little. Why is it so difficult to ask people about their relationship with Christ, their spiritual growth and maybe even their fears? For me, it takes time, intent and it is more difficult so I don’t do it enough.
Is the first question you ask a senior in high school “So, where are you going to college?
I have been working as a volunteer with our church’s upcoming high school graduates since they were in 7th grade. There are two main things that our students seem to be struggling with: stress and compartmentalization. They are completely stressed about how well or how not well they are doing at school and what they will do in the future. However, they forget that they have the power of the living God in them.
They separate into Suzy at school and Suzy at church. Now, what do I do to help them avoid these traps? I ask them what college they are going to. I ask them about the acceptance into the National Honor Society or about their new car? I ask them about UIL state ranking? All of these questions are okay, but if those are the only questions I am asking them, then what am I telling them about their master status?
Why it is so difficult to ask them about their walk with Christ?
For me, it takes time, intent, prayer, and it is more difficult so I just don’t do it enough.
Have you ever said to another person as you are walking by, “Hey, how are you?” but your feet don’t stop you from moving away from them?
What? Why do we do this? Our words are saying one thing, but our obvious actions are saying something else.
Many years ago I realized the trappings of a phrase very similar to this, “I will pray for you.” Now, some of you may do great with this phrase—you may tell people that you will pray for them and then actually do it. I, however, get way too distracted. I found that for me, it was a way to end a conversation or escape an awkward experience or just a way for me to have the appearance of caring.
I made a vow not to say it. To choose to stop and pray for that person right then or to put a note in my calendar and then text the person and saying, “I am praying for you right now” or “I just prayed ….. for you”.
I believe, “Hi, how are you?” is the universal “I will pray for you.” It appears to show care and concern but with little action behind it, the appearance falls away. Or as I have heard it said in Texas – “Big Hat, No Cattle.”
So, why don’t we stop to hear to answer to our question? For me, it takes time, intent, prayer, and it is more difficult so I just don’t do it enough.
Have you ever lied to someone when they have asked you how you are doing with a pat, “Just great.”?
This just happened to me. I was having a rough day—the kind of day that you spend most of the day praying, not because you are on the mountaintop, but because you are in the valley and you know that you should try not to let all your ugly out.
I was at the grocery store holding it somewhat together and the cashier ask me, “How are you?” and I said, “Great, how are you?”
But she answered honestly: “I am here and I tired and hungry.” Then, I actually noticed her. I saw her fatigue and her face of endurance, and I heard her story about her two jobs and her teething granddaughter that kept her up all night. She was real and I was not. But, because she was real we connected.
So, why don’t I answer people honestly?For me, it takes time, intent, prayer, and it is more difficult so I just don’t do it enough
My Master Status
So, I have been challenged to not fail at this. I want to show to my fellow Christians, the lady at the grocery store, and my students that God is the all and all–everything else is second.
What people do, where they go to school, and who they root for may be interesting, and it may be easier to talk about, however, it matters very little in the end.