It was Thursday night. I was sitting at the table in my living room, surrounded by three of my closest friends and we were having a lively biblical discussion when it happened.
I shared my understanding of a passage in Scripture and when one of my friends reflected back his understanding through the lens of his experience, it was like someone turned on the lights. My mind was illuminated! I had just come to a depth of understanding that I didn’t even know existed. My brain was charging through the thought process like a speedboat, exploring the possible ramifications. It was so exciting that I shared my new understanding with my friends—an action that ignited a new chain-reaction of thought in them and the cycle started all over again.
What is going on here? To an observer, it could be called a casual Bible study, but I believe this is a great example of what the Bible calls the “priesthood of all believers” in action.
If someone asked “Are you a priest?” most of us would probably say no, because in our minds a priest is either a member of the Catholic clergy or a descendant of Aaron living in ancient Israel. However, the Bible is clear in 1 Peter 2:9 that we are all indeed priests: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”
What is a priest?
OK, so we are priests, but what is a priest? In almost every religion there is some kind of priestly role: a special individual who acts as an intermediary or representative between the deity and the people.
The unique characteristic of biblical Christianity is that while we have Jesus as our High Priest, officiating on our behalf in the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 4:14), we are plainly told that we are all priests. Have you ever stopped to consider the ramifications of this one concept?
- You, personally, have direct access to the Monarch of the universe.
- You have the capacity to intercede for those around you, and be heard.
- You can expect the Holy Spirit to communicate with you and through you directly.
We should be astounded by this and eagerly take part in this priesthood, yet somehow we either take it for granted or we simply never take up the blessings offered to us. Instead, we leave them on the table, assuming that these privileges belong only to the pastor or the elders.
I am not a pastor, just an average guy with a Bible, and when I find fellow believers to fellowship with, I’m confident that the Holy Spirit goes to work. He impresses my mind with what I can say that will build others up. At times He also uses my words to communicate ideas to others that I never intended. I am also humbled by the knowledge that the Holy Spirit uses the words of my friends to communicate ideas to me that I would have otherwise missed. You could call this divine cross-pollination.
God did not design us to worship Him in a vacuum. We are (according to Scripture) a nation of priests and collectively the body of Christ, communicating and influencing one another for His glory. If we isolate ourselves or limit our conversation to temporal realities we short-circuit our own growth and deprive others of the growth they could have experienced had we connected with them.
How do we take part?
Like anything new it will always take some conscious action, and it may even feel scary or awkward at first. But there are only two simple steps:
- Have something to share: Prayerfully read your Bible. Find something that is interesting and meaningful to you.
- Tell someone else about it: Practice by sharing this with others who also see value in biblical conversation.
Don’t think of it as a Bible study because that puts all kinds of unnecessary pressure on you. You don’t need to have notes and Bibles out; just tell someone what God is doing in your life or something encouraging that you have read. This may feel awkward or you might even feel like an impostor, but once you do it intentionally for a while it will grow and become a normal part of your character.
If you do feel an element of impostor syndrome, just remember that this level of discipleship is for everyone. As a part of the priesthood of all believers, you have just as much right (you could even call it a duty) to share about your experience with the Lord as anyone else does. You will be amazed by how much more alive your own Christian experience will become as a result of this “cross-pollination”.
My friends and I have experienced so much growth and blessings from doing this that we have set up a ministry podcast in our local church where we share our spiritual discussions with the hope that we can encourage others to do the same.
So my question to you today is, do you want to step out of the slow growth lane and into the high velocity growth that comes from this divine cross-pollination? I can tell you it is more than worth it!
Luke Farrugia is a web professional from Bundaberg, Qld. Luke takes every opportunity to use tech for God’s glory via podcasting, blogging and more (visit www.lukef.com.au).