I know many of my fellow Christians get frustrated from time to time when discussing Christianity with non-believers, and yes, I too get frustrated from time to time. Why is the frustration there? Many times it is because something seems so obvious to us, and we know it to be true and we are trying to explain it. What’s the problem? Often times it seems the other person just isn’t getting it, and we can’t figure out why. It is the truth, we know it is the truth, we see the evidence plainly, why can’t they?
Well, the answer is in scripture, and we just have a tendency to forget it sometimes.
1 Corinthians 2: 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
There are aspects to God character, God’s ways, His plans, etc… that cannot be captured by man alone, the “natural man” literally cannot grasp them. It takes the Spirit of God to communicate those truths to us. Much of our frustration arises out of trying to explain deep theological issues, or describing God’s character or actions to someone who admittedly does not believe in Him…if they are not born again, then The Spirit of God does not reside in them, hence is not communicating to them in the same manner as He is to us.
This is not boasting, nor mocking in any way, shape, or form. It is a truth that we cannot deny, and anyone who has gone through a conversion experience to Christianity can testify to this idea. The Spirit is quite capable of working on the “outside” of natural man, drawing him, prodding him, nipping at his heels in order to give that natural man a choice…enabling grace. This is why the gospel in all it’s simple beauty is to be preached to all; it is that chance to faithe, to choose, and is understood with the help of the Spirit if only from the “outside.”
But, it is the “meat” of our faith that can be frustrating to communicate, in some cases even to fellow believers.
1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
Paul is pointing out that while these Corinthian believers have the Spirit, they are not responding to that Spirit and growing in Him as they should; hence, Paul has still been feeding them “milk” as one would a babe, and not “meat.” I can sense Paul’s frustration here, as it appears he wishes he could really dig into deeper spiritual teaching, but must hold back. Our frustration often comes when we do try to delve into deep spiritual teaching and we actually expect a “natural” man to respond as though he already has the Spirit of God dwelling within him. (Also, this is actually a problem with many churches; they fail to feed the flock with meat as the flock grows in knowledge, the preachers keep dishing out milk as though they are still dealing with babes. As the babes grow up they crave meat, but the milky preachers don’t/can’t provide it.)
I once had an conversation with an online acquaintance who was not a Christian, but who I had a relationship based on calm dialogue, back and forth, kicking around ideas. After failing to explain, what to me was very obvious, I finally put my thoughts into words. I told him the situation was like trying to describe the visual perception of colors, movement, light, etc… to someone who was blind since birth. That is the level of perception that God’s Spirit brings into someone who faithes on Christ.
Far from being angry or being offended by my comment, it helped them to understand the frustration that I was indeed feeling. Now, my point is that it does no good to be frustrated; it is understandable, but does no one any good. If you find you are getting too frustrated; remember the important point; it is never our own words that bring about knowledge or illumination; it is the Spirit. He can work through our words, especially the good news of the gospel to quicken hearts, but it begins, carries on, and ends with the Spirit.