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Gospel-Centered Conversations

Telephone booth

If you know me, you’d know I’m not the best conversationalist.

I’m not very talkative and am often thinking about the task to complete on my to do list.

So then, I write this with great humility as I reflect upon the truths of the gospel. You see, if Jesus is king over everything, that also means he is king over our the way we communicate with each other. The nature of the gospel transforms the purpose, content and method of our everyday conversations. God cares about what you say and why you say it!

I have noticed two trends in contemporary conversational culture. The first is that less people are making the effort to communicate properly – face to face. With the rise of the internet, technology, video games and ‘social’ networks, there is a decrease of real, honest, interpersonal dialogue. It doesn’t take a person whose love language is ‘quality time’ to know that there really is no substitute for real talk. Do not forget how scripture warns against laziness, idleness and selfishness.

The second is that on the other end of the spectrum lies shallow talk that lacks meaning and purpose. Vanity, busyness and fear keep individuals from authentic conversation, simply chatting about the news, latest fashion purchase and other surface issues without going deeper. Do not forget how scripture warns against godless chatter, foolish talk and many words.

There is much to be said about these two extremes, however the gospel of Jesus Christ stands in the middle. This good news unites everything between withdrawn and worthless conversation.

Here are some basic characteristics of conversations that are shaped by the gospel.

 

Gospel-Centered Conversations are fueled by thanksgiving

The gospel teaches us that we have been made in the image of God, living in a world created according to the grand design of God. God-honouring and people-blessing conversations occur because we have much to be thankful of, including the life of the other.

Knowledge of the other person’s salvation (or possible future salvation) gives you plenty of reasons to be thankful because of what Jesus has done for them. This is a much better alternative than to complain about the trivialities of life.

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! – 1 Chronicles 16:8

 

Gospel-Centered Conversations preach good news

Conversations that are truly shaped by the good news of the gospel won’t hesitate to display the glory of God. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you evangelise to every person you talk to, nor does it mean that you have to throw in a biblical one-liner or pray after you chat (though they may be nice).

Preaching good news in your conversations means that what you say has God’s purposes in mind for his glory and your sanctification. It means knowing the difference between your opinions and advice and God’s truths and commands. It means carrying out the mission of the gospel through glorifying Christ, for he is the head over all.

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. – 1 Peter 4:11

 

Gospel-Centered Conversations love our neighbours as ourselves

Love displays itself in self-sacrifice as you give your energy, time and attention to the other person during a conversation. Loving our neighbours means actually caring about them and being genuinely interested in what they love.

Loving your neighbour also means that you make the most of each conversational opportunity, even seeking them out. It means that for those seconds/minutes/hours you have with the other person (girls I know you can talk for hours) you work on building a relationship of trust, care and benefit for their sake, not just yours.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 

This is just the beginning – check out the books and articles below for further encouragement and practical advice.


Recommended resources:

  • The Four Loves – C. S. Lewis
  • The Art of Conversation – Judy Apps
  • Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands – Paul David Tripp
  • The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert – Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
  • www.freetoserve.typepad.com/freetoserve/2012/11/what-is-a-gospel-centered-conversation.html
  • www.lifeway.com/Article/ministry-four-critical-aspects-gospel-centered-discipleship-conversations

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