It’s Overflow Monday once again – an opportunity to go deeper with a topic from Sunday’s message. This Sunday was the final installment of our Unruined series – a study through the book of Nehemiah.
It was an incredible series – one of my all-time favorites so far at Awaken (although I think I say that after almost every series).
You can catch the other Overflow blogs HERE.
I grew up in New Mexico, so you may think I know Spanish. I took some Spanish classes in High School and I can roll my Rs pretty well, but outside of the typical Mexican food dishes, I’m not a Spanish-speaker. I am bilingual, however, or at least my second language is in the works.
Spiritually speaking, my first language is the language of the world.
My second language is the language of God’s people.
In the final chapter of Nehemiah, he deals with an unfortunate setback upon his return to Jerusalem. The walls had been rebuilt, and as he promised, Nehemiah returned to the king for a while. About a decade or so later, he heads back to Jerusalem and finds some of the same issues plaguing the Jews as before: dishonoring God’s house, not tithing, not honoring the Sabbath, and intermarrying with the surrounding pagan cultures.
One of the greatest problems they faced as a result of their involvement with the surrounding cultures was the loss of their first language, Hebrew.
There’s an important spiritual parallel for us here.
The deeper we intertwine ourselves into the culture around us, the more we will begin to lose the ability to speak the language of God’s people.
As God’s people, we speak a different language than the world.
The world speaks the language of HATE, REVENGE, and DIVISION.
God’s people speak the language of LOVE, FORGIVENESS, and UNITY.
The world says, “FIGHT OR FLIGHT.” The Church says, “UNITE & HOLD TIGHT!” (tweet this)
It takes time to learn your second language. The language of God’s people doesn’t come naturally. Hate, revenge, and division are the natural first words for anyone to learn.
Here are a couple thoughts on developing your lingual skills…
Read the right Book.
If you want to learn another culture’s language, get Rosetta Stone. If you want to learn the language of God’s people, read God’s Book, the Bible. It’s filled with all-new, heavenly perspectives on life, ways to approach situations, and verses that should fill your mind and coming overflowing from your heart.
Surround yourself with people who speak the language.
When my Brazilian brother-in-law wanted to learn English, he moved to Australia for a couple years. He immersed himself in the culture. You need to do the same. It’s a lot easier to learn the language when you’re surrounded by people who speak it. Getting around God’s people will help you learn the language of God’s people.
Practice it, even when it’s awkward and unnatural.
When someone wrongs you, your first tendency will be hate and anger, but don’t speak your native tongue. Force yourself to speak the new language of love and forgiveness you are learning. Approaching someone in order to peacefully resolve conflict will feel awkward at first, but push through the awkwardness. It feels unnatural because it is unnatural. The language of love is supernatural. Pray, then keep speaking it, not because it feels natural, but because it’s right.
You can catch the full message on the Awaken website, but here’s a teaser for you as you learn your second language…