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How to see spiritual openness

This is a copy of an excellent post by Alex Absalom here.

Is it possible to recognize spiritual openness in another person?  If so, how?
Actually it’s much easier to do than we realize – if only we will have eyes to see and ears to hear what God is already doing in someone’s life.

Hungry to meet God

When Hannah and I first met one of our dear friends, Lindsay, she presented as highly competent and successful – as a medic, a mother and someone who knew all about life.  Yet in spite of having had no connection to church for several decades, her hunger for a deeper reality and sense of purpose shone through.  She asked lots about how we were raising our children to know God without becoming messed up by religion.  She expressed her inner turmoil over how she and her husband could raise their boys so they wouldn’t be caught up in the consumerist and selfish lifestyle that she saw all around.

When Jesus met Zacchaeus, He encountered someone who was extremely wealthy and seemingly successful.  Yet as Jesus looked more deeply, He saw a man who had great riches and power, but who lacked meaningful friendships and a sense of value, purpose and divine destiny.  Zacchaeus was in inner turmoil – and Jesus was able to stop, see that and invest time wisely in that relationship.

Today the spiritually open may not be hanging out of a tree in front of you, but the signs are similar.  In particular, pay attention to the following clues:
  • Their questions
  • Their longings – for themselves, their kids and your community
  • What they write on social media – it is amazing how candid people will be in that environment, typing words that would never escape their lips
  • What they do with their time and money – listen to the causes and people with whom they engage
  • What they say when they truly let their guard down – whether they are in crisis, chilling on vacation or simply drunk, these are prime moments for the heart to be revealed
  • When they are in major life change – whether good (such as a new baby arriving) or bad (losing a job)

I’ve found that as I’ve disciplined myself to actually look and listen, I can see a lot of spiritual openness around me (and the lack thereof as well!).  Men and women, boys and girls, all go through times of spiritual openness, but so often the Christians around them are not paying attention, and thus miss the chance to draw them closer to Jesus.

CONSIDER:  How good are you at spotting spiritual openness?  What specific step can you take to develop this aspect of godly awareness?


David Wanstall, 09/04/2013