If you’ve followed my blog for even a short time, you probably know that Eric at “A Pilgrim’s Progress” is a good friend of mine. We’ve known each other for almost 10 years and have spent time with one another’s family – although not enough in the last few years because we live in different states (and different countries for a while).
Like me, Eric’s understanding of the church has changed since we’ve known each other, even though we’ve taken different paths along the way. One thing that we’re both convinced of (currently) is the benefit of conversation and discussion among the church. His latest post, “Awe in the Conversation,” touches on one aspect of the idea of teaching one another through discussion.
Here’s one snippet from his post:
I love hearing from multiple people about how they have seen God act during the previous week. Usually it is in the little things. Occasionally, it is the bigger stuff. Either way, my faith is strengthened through it. My hope is that others are encouraged as I speak. Sometimes we all just sit in silence after someone has spoken of what God has done and is doing.
This sort of gathering finds awe in the conversation. Someone might speak about a passage of scripture from an angle that I have never even considered before. When a light bulb comes on in my brain, the response is usually awe of God and thanks to Him. Someone else might speak about being stuck in a situation where there seems to be no way out (whether it be big, small, or somewhere in between), only to then find God delivering them from it.
As we gather, I’m usually sitting on the floor or on a couch. Literally, then, I’m sitting. Emotionally and spiritually, however, I’m standing. I’m standing in awe of God because of what I’ve heard in the conversation.
When I read Eric’s post, I couldn’t help but think of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:
If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. (1 Corinthians 14:23-25 ESV)
Obviously, in that passage, Paul is comparing the benefit of tongues speaking (which people cannot understand) to the benefit of prophecy (which people can understand). But, his last point is important: The unbeliever recognizes that God is among them because he hears from God through different people.
Oh, yes. There is definitely “awe in the conversation” when our hearts are focused on God together and we seek to build one another up together.