From the age of 12, for 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, 40 weeks a year, for 7 years, I studied French. I read in French. I wrote in French. I spoke in French.
A few years later, while backpacking in Europe, a disheartening reality came to light. Effectively, I knew ZERO French. Sure, I could stammer a few words and phrases. I could order a croissant and a coffee (kind of), but beyond that I was hopeless.
What I discovered on that trip is that there is a great chasm between understanding and effectiveness. Head knowledge is rarely helpful without repeated practical application. Knowing the right words is a poor substitute for fluency.
Fluency is found in consistent practical application. I long to find greater fluency in my faith – living out more of my daily activities completely dependent on God. Yet, I know the majority of my current routing relies mostly on my own ability.
Today, loving my neighbor is often more of a mental assent than a daily reality – a great idea but not a practical expression. In the same way, my preaching dependence on the Holy Spirit is not the same as living each moment relying on Him. I mentally assent to the idea but are the outcomes of my days consistently dependent on Him?
If we really want to become more fluent in our faith, our spiritual rubber must meet the everyday road of our reality. Jesus said:
“…don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.” Luke 12:11-12 NLT
Notice the three words near the end of that sentence: “at that time”. I would prefer this scripture say, ‘right now the Holy Spirit will teach us what needs to be said’, but it simply doesn’t. If we want to increase the fluency of our faith, we must move our lives toward ‘at that time’ activities.
I am consciously aware that I cannot afford to live less sermons than I write. Until we reach the edge of our ability in our everyday actions, the Holy Spirit hovers. He waits for us to rely on Him. We must move toward this truth and begin shifting our daily lives toward greater dependence. Living in our own ability simply does not cultivate a desperation for divine intervention.
So, how many ‘at that time’ edges are we reaching each day? Are we regularly stepping to the edge of our ability, then adding another step of faith? Are we actively moving toward the edge to seek everyday opportunities to depend on Him?
This is where God has me: asking these questions…attempting to live out better answers. Each day I am striving to make dependence upon Him a necessity versus a nice-ity. Dependent, not because I know it is right, but instead because I have already stepped beyond the edge of my ability.
This is a challenging road, but God would not have us walk any other way. The edge of our ability is the place where the Holy Spirit meets us. That’s the place of faith. That’s the place of miracles. That’s the place of testimonies. Consider stepping out with me today.
C3 Atlanta, Lead Pastor