How To Speak Or Write About Your Spiritual Insights Without Being Preachy
People are hungry for encouragement and spiritual wisdom.
They just don't want to be preached to.
Can you blame them? I remember one particular speaker who I happened to know had a very shallow personal life in which he often tried to make himself look good at the expense of denying others the credit for their good work.
I was in a worship service in which I had to listen to him preach about being self-less.
I was in agony.
How much more effective he would have been if he would have shared his ongoing struggle with needing for others to see him as successful.
He would have had my complete attention.
I would have been able to empathize with his truthful self-revelation by relating to my own needs for recognition and we together would have had a moment of personal growth.
If you would like for people to really be tuned into your spiritual insights be real.
Take a risk.
Reveal struggles you have faced and share how God is blessing you.
Don't try to be the hero of every story; instead reveal by your example how others don't have to be afraid of their weaknesses and failures.
Here is an example from a book I recently wrote:A Down to Earth God: devotionals for the nature lover.
The Three Goats from Hell My dream of owning land has finally come true.
Sure, it's along a busy highway, under the approach to the runway of the Fortuna airport, next to the railroad tracks, and on the side of a steep hill but it's still land--God's, the bank's, and mine.
I sometimes walk over to the little orchard planted too close to the overshadowing redwoods and sugar pines and pick a diminutive apple or pear and eat it with the relish that only landowners know.
Munching between the holes and bites already made by other critters, I smile deep inside, acknowledging that God and I made that pear grow.
Isn't it good? But with this expansive, Lord-of-the-domain feeling also comes the awareness of having to care for the place.
Oh, I wish I had cut those huge, thistly-looking purple flowers before they exploded into the seedy beginnings of next year's weeds.
And what about keeping the grass and brush down?Horses have no income-producing value but would be so much fun.
Cows would work very well with the sketchy fencing I have but eating them wouldn't be very good for my cholesterol.
Goats would eat the brush, poison oak, and grass just fine but my fencing isn't adequate.
Oh, what to do, what to do.
I really don't have much time to spend on this, with pastoring a new church and so many people to visit.
So you can see why I would be delighted to look out one morning to see three little white goats munching contentedly on my thistles and weeds down in my lower field.
I later went down to visit them and we negotiated a fifteen-foot relationship consisting of my talking soothing nonsense and their staring at me blankly and chewing.
It was so country!I immediately began praising God for taking care of even this smallest of needs.
The next day the furry threesome felt more comfortable and ventured even closer.
After a couple of days I looked out my bedroom window and the three cute goats were kneeling in the shade of the nearby maple tree looking as comfortable as could be.
What have I done to be so loved by God and so blessed without even asking? The next day I noted with satisfaction that the goats came even closer.
They were eating the patch of weeds watered by the leech lines in front of my house, where the rains will eventually reveal a lawn.
The goats looked extremely well fed.
I walked gently around them toward my tiny orchard to grab a pear for Suzanne and an apple for myself.
The solitary red delicious apple I had been leaving to grow a little bigger near the top of an otherwise bare dwarf tree was missing!It screamed of violence like a bank vault door hanging crookedly off its hinges.
My apple was missing! And my pears--the whole tree full--were all gone, except for a few half-eaten ones!The upper branches were broken and hanging down at sickly angles.
And those blasted goats, looking bloated, smiled nearby and practically belched with satisfaction.
Later that evening my neighbor stopped by and said the highway patrol had found those same three goats stopping traffic on Highway 36 after having almost caused who-knows-how-many accidents.
Why do we interpret anything that appears to be positive as a blessing from God when the same blessing may soon turn out to be a curse?It occurs to me that instead of relying on the better hope the scriptures promise, we let our spirituality hang in the balance of day-to-day events.
If this or that happens in my favor God is blessing me.
It suddenly seems more mature to keep in mind ...
for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45).
God promises that all things work toward our good, if we love Him.
We need not ride the crest of positive events as if they are evidence of God's love in our lives any more than we should allow the negative events, the death and disease which surround us, to become indicators of God's disfavor.
Let the goats in our life be neither the goats from God nor the goats from hell.
Let them simply be goats, and let God be God, yearning to lead us home, and able to use ANY circumstances in our life to our long-term advantage.
Isn't that the real miracle? Did you notice how the author carefully avoided making himself look better than anyone?His realization that people attribute motives to God based on their own fears and desires, thinking God is cursing or blessing them, that are not necessarily from God at all, is easy to accept.
The author wasn't afraid to reveal his own foolish assumptions and shared what he had learned with the reader as an equal.
We all are, after all, equal in the eyes of God, all children learning from our mistakes, and, if not preached to, learning from the mistakes of others.