Spirit - Speak
Language can be a difficult barrier to overcome. A lack of clarity can easily lead to misunderstandings.
Google Translate has tried to overcome that barrier with limited success. Search #GoogleTranslateFail and you’ll see it’s still a work in progress. Phrases like “Beware of safety,” “Please don’t be edible,” “Tiny grass is dreaming,” and “Slip and fall down carefully!” are just a few examples of communication gone awry.
When discussing spiritual matters, it is particularly important to communicate clearly. In fact, this is one of the most common reasons that keeps people from witnessing in the first place. “I wouldn’t know what to say” and “I don’t want to say the wrong thing” are common excuses.
That’s why I’m so thankful we have “Spirit-Speak.” It’s like Google Translate only much better.
Now, to be clear, I’m not referring to speaking in tongues. That practice is emphasized in some Christian churches as a desirable spiritual gift still today. Paul put that gift in proper perspective when he wrote, “I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:12).
What I am referring to is the promise that the Holy Spirit speaks through us. Jesus’ saving work gave us access to the Father as his dear children. And yet, our ways are not his ways. What we think is important is often different from what God knows we need. Left to ourselves we could still mess it all up.
What a blessing, then, that when God’s children come to him in prayer, he’s given us Spirit-Speak. “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26). The Spirit takes our prayers and actually translates the tone, language and even the petitions in a way that reaches our heavenly Father’s ears with exactly what we need. God has removed the gaps in our communication with him.
God has also given this amazing gift of Spirit-Speak as he reaches others through us. “Do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:11-12). He actually puts his Word in your mouth.
I’ve seen this in action over and over. Christian witnesses get trained, but they are often nervous before they go out. They’re worried they won’t know what to say. But then, after going out to share their faith, they come back amazed: “God really does give you the words to say!”
This is especially important to remember as we reach out to Mormons. Far too often Christians think they must first become an expert on Mormonism. Understanding different terms can certainly be helpful. Yet, my observation is that Christians who immerse themselves in Mormon teaching can be even more reluctant to witness. This is because they’re still trusting in their own words.
We want to be prepared to give the reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15). This begins by telling others what God has done for you. Then trust that your words will have the power to overcome obstacles and reach their heart. Witness confidently because you have Spirit-Speak!