Knowing When They are Ready posted by jwatson on Dec 27, 2011
How do we know when a baby is ready to receive solid foods?
When the food goes down and doesn’t come back up again!
Or perhaps a more spiritual analogy – How did Noah know when the water was beginning to dry up? When the dove didn’t return to him (Genesis 8:12)
In the same way, we can know if a person is “ready” to receive the truth about spiritual things.
We are composite, whole beings, and we interact with the world –
Body: We are aware of the physical world around us by means of our senses.
Soul: My soul is a mish-mash of personality, mental process and emotions. My soul is that which identifies me as being a unique individual (some of us are more unique than others!) and I interact with others by means of thoughts, words, covenants, relationships and culture inter alia.
Spirit: My spirit is that which discerns spiritual things – the existence and the presence of God, the ability to hear His voice, understand His ways and have insight into mysteries that “angels long to look into”. (1 Peter 1:12)
God in His infinite mercy gives people the ability to hear His voice. That’s why He says: “today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”. (Hebrews 3:15).
So, that pesky question again – “How do we know they are ready?”
It’s an important question, because if their ears are spiritually stopped up, we’ll be wasting God’s time, our time and their time.
How do we test someone’s sense of smell? By holding a rose in front of their nose and asking them if they can smell the fragrance .. you get the idea. In the same way we put something out there can only be spiritually discerned. (“What did I do on the weekend? I went to church” .. doesn’t exactly qualify). How about
- Do you often think about what happens after death?
- Do you know where you will spend eternity?
- What do you think is the most important thing that’s ever happened in history? – (I once asked this of a hitch-hiker and he came straight out with “the crucifixion of Jesus.” A really good conversation followed!)
- This world is pretty messed up, and we can’t seem to fix it. Do you think there’s an answer?
- Have you seen the movie “The Passion of the Christ”/”Amazing Grace”/“Courageous”/ etc.? What do you think?
- Did you go to church as a child? If, “Yes”, ask “What effect did it have on your life?” If, ”No,” – “Have you ever wondered what the Christian faith is about?”
These questions, and I’m sure you can think of plenty of your own, serve as a test to check whether someone is able to discern spiritual things, and if they are you need to be “ready with an answer for the faith that is within you.” 1 Peter 3:15
I can’t help wondering if we often don’t ask these types of questions because we’re worried that they might want to know more, and we’d be up a creek without a paddle, evangelistically speaking.
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