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We thrive when God shares His life with us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Sharing your life with others might be the best way to encourage someone. Paul describes his desire for mutual edification to the believers in Rome:
One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.Romans 1:10-12 NLT
A testimony is a statement of personal experience. It can’t be refuted, but it is also hard to deny. Testimonies are usually intentional and planned, but casual sharing can be just as effective.
Sharing Your Spirit is a Blessing
Others need your perspective. It can be incredibly encouraging just to hear someone else acknowledge God’s truth as real. God gives us life to share with others. What is more precious than life? Sharing your life is like a supercharged spiritual discipline.
Because we are made in God’s image, we are spirit at our core too. God made us to have some control over what we keep hidden and what we reveal.
For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.John 4:24 NLT
If God invests in revealing who He is to us, we should also spend time revealing ourselves to each other. By sharing ourselves we are also revealing who God is because God lives within us. This kind of spiritual sharing goes beyond sharing physical resources.
God’s Spirit has shown you everything. His Spirit finds out everything, even what is deep in the mind of God.1 Corinthians 2:10 CEV
To see and know God is eternal life (John 17:3).
Mutual Sharing is Superior
What is motivating you when you share? Interestingly enough, sharing benefits both the speaker and the listener. In most relationships, balanced sharing is more rewarding. Listening can be work but it can also be an act of receiving a blessing. Speaking can be work, for example when someone is teaching, but it can also be advantageous.
The speaker is blessed by knowing that what is shared makes a difference in someone else’s life. Sharing is also important for another more subtle reason: not sharing is unnatural. An example of this is when someone gives another the silent treatment. People become emotionally sick when they cannot share their lives with others.
Even though sharing is beneficial, this doesn’t mean it is healthy to share indiscriminately. Even God reveals Himself only to specific people.
My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.Luke 10:22 NLT
Some people have no interest or use for God’s words. They do not understand. They do not know eternal life. God says that you don’t have to waste your time with these people. But there are plenty of others who are poor in spirit. They want to hear the words of truth. They are hungry for the life you have flowing within you.
Don’t give to dogs what belongs to God. They will only turn and attack you. Don’t throw pearls down in front of pigs. They will trample all over them.Matthew 7:6 CEV
Too often people are taught to not be selfish and to listen more than speak. But if everyone followed this advice, no one would be talking! I encourage you to intentionally seek a balance in your relationships. Both speaking and listening are powerful blessings.
When you speak, be deliberate about sharing the best parts of your spiritual life. What has God been doing in your heart? When you are listening to others, realize they are sharing the “pearls of the kingdom” with you. You are treading on holy ground. Be respectful of this blessing.
Speak and listen with all of your heart.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.