In continuing with my series on Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid, I’ve had several different ideas for topics to share. I’ve already confessed that being raised in church isn’t enough and that my parents never expected us to be “perfect preacher’s kids.” They also didn’t expect us to always talk about God and church.
Today’s Confession: I Don’t Talk About God All the Time
Growing up in church means growing up around church people, and something I’ve noticed over the years is that there are some things that Christians do that are more part of the “church culture” or to seem more “Christian-y” that are not really Biblical or beneficial to the kingdom of God or reaching a lost world.
One of those things is how some Christians talk.
No, I’m not talking about gossip or cussing, even though both of those are not good practices or Christ-like, as the Bible tells us to “let no unwholesome word come out of our mouths” (Ephesians 4:29). As we grow in our relationship with God, those things should fall by the wayside. To stubbornly hold on to them is really a heart issue.
Actually, the annoying talk that I’ve encountered among some Christians would be almost the exact opposite of that. It’s when people only ever talk in scripture, “Christianese” phrases, or sermon quotes.
Why is this frustrating? Shouldn’t the “words of our mouth…be acceptable to” God?
Yes, they should. (Psalm 19:14)
Shouldn’t we be talking about what the Bible says and what God has done?
Yes, we should.
However, I’ve known a number of people who have hidden behind their God-centered words to avoid being real or transparent with others.
For example, if you asked them how their day was going, the response might be something, like, “This is the day that the Lord has made, so I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Is their day going well, or are they choosing to rejoice despite a bad day? Not sure. Speaking in faith is good, but so is being honest. If I can’t understand or relate to you as a fellow believer, how are you going to reach others who really have no idea what you’re saying?
I remember one family I knew for a long time whose father rarely answered questions about himself or their family or life, really, without referencing God, church, or scripture. Even though I spent several years around them all, I never felt as though I really knew him, and he didn’t seem approachable or genuine.
Once when I was spending time with them, I began to feel as though something must be wrong with me or my relationship with God because, even though I had God’s Word hidden in my heart from reading it faithfully over the years, I had plenty of conversations where I didn’t mention God at all or quote a single verse.
That night when I was praying, I asked God, “Am I not speaking about You enough? Am I supposed to sound like these other people?”
God’s answer was simple, “Let your words be seasoned with salt.” (Colossians 4:6)
Anyone who’s watched a cooking show knows that seasoning can make or break a dish. Seasoning something with salt doesn’t just mean adding salt, but adding the right amount of salt for the dish you’re cooking. With that verse, God reminded me that not everything requires the same amount of salt. While potatoes are going to need a lot, fruit or ice cream don’t need much at all.
No matter what you’re making, not having enough salt leaves a dish lacking flavor, but too much salt can make it inedible. You have to know how and when to use it.
Never having God’s words in your mouth means you’re not whetting the appetite of the world to want to know God. However, forcing scriptures or God into every conversation can make talking to you completely unpalatable.
I avoided talking to my friend’s dad because he only gave cliché or pat responses, and he only asked you questions about what you’d read in the Bible or what your church was doing. It always felt as if I were being measured by how holy my answers were.
However, once I had that confirmation from God, I knew that God was fine if I didn’t mention Him in every sentence.
His Word says that it’s “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). My love for God is already in my heart, and it will come out naturally in my life and in my words, seasoning my conversations genuinely, in a way that will draw others to Him, giving them a hunger for more of Him.