Knowing how to respond actually starts before the encounter.
Today’s Scripture reading comes from Matthew 5:1-2, quoting from the NASB:
“When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them saying…”
How do you behave in a crowd? How do you know what to do and what not to do? Does your Christ like behavior identify you as different, and do others find you approachable? Jesus’ demeanor generally drew others to Him. He was not prickly, rude, arrogant, or stingy with His wisdom. On the hillside where He delivered the beatitudes, Jesus in the presence of many and in the company of His disciples freely shared wisdom for living.
For many who lead and influence others, the right words may not always seem self-evident. One may be tempted to play it safe by delivering some writer’s scripted lines or by taking the path of least resistance in the arenas of work or relationships. When it is not clear exactly what to say, we can safely rely on God’s Spirit for guidance. The presence of the Holy Spirit will aid in knowing how and what to speak. Jesus sat on a hillside and out came words for living, words relevant to each and every one who listened. Being fully God, Jesus could be expected to know what to speak to every man, but what about us mortals? As we set Christ apart in our hearts and make studying God’s word a priority, we too can know how to answer every man, whether in the board room, at a lunch table, in the workplace or on the golf course.
Jesus also encountered individuals, including the solitary woman at the well. Likewise, many of our encounters occur one on one and are no less significant than large group interactions. They may, in fact, be more significant or impactful. The issue often boils down to speaking when the Spirit prompts! Knowing how to respond actually starts before the encounter. Time spent in reading, studying, meditating, and memorizing Scripture will extensively aid how the Spirit directs conversation.
When we do not fully grasp all the parameters of the here and now, the Holy Spirit does and will give understanding at the right time. The disciples did not fully grasp all of Jesus’ teachings while in His presence. They grew in depth of understanding as they continued in the Scriptures and in the Spirit.
How about you? Are you discerning God’s voice when you find yourself speaking to many, a few, or one on one? Just as Jesus spent much time in prayer and solitude with God, the basis of our responses may be proportional to the time we spend with God in study of the Scriptures.
Points to Ponder
Over the next week, here are 3 points to ponder during your personal time of reflection or with a small group or mentor.
The Holy Spirit gives conversation discernment as we…
- First, spend time with God in study.
- Second, trust the Spirit for the response.
- Third, listen for His voice.