Speaking a New Language


Fluency can be explained as the ability to express oneself easily and articulately.  I have long been envious of my friends who have grown up speaking two languages since childhood.  They can move smoothly between conversing with parents in one language and carrying on another conversation in a completely different one.  I have had my years clocked in taking language courses all throughout school, yet, it never seemed to stick.  I could even navigate writing papers and reading books in another language, but if given the opportunity for a casual conversation I would struggle and awkwardly bumble through attempts to communicate.  I know this was the sticking point that really hindered any attempts I might have to become fluent.  It is not enough to know how to conjugate irregular verbs or craft a five paragraph essay.  For any significant fluency to be gained I needed to be in an environment where I would be speaking, listening, and engaging in the new language.  I still have not become proficient in any other world language, but I am seeing more and more that my fluency should extend far beyond the English vocabulary.  This fluency is in speaking of the good news of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus—that is Gospel fluency.
Back in November this conversation was jumpstarted when we took a trip to Denver, CO for a training facilitated by Jeff Vanderstelt, which in part dealt directly with this topic of Gospel fluency.  Just as one would become fluent in another language, we as believers are to be speaking, listening, and engaging with one another through the lens of the Gospel.  We are to be thinking about how Christ’s redemptive story speaks to the trials of life-job loss, insecurities, and family breakdown.  The speaker left us with some excellent questions that I am thankful to be reminded of as I write: What is the problem and how is Jesus the answer?  What is the longing and how does Jesus meet that desire?  Are we reminding each other the truths of how good Jesus is to us? 
Far too often I catch myself in my own life reading books or jotting down sermon notes, yet struggling to bring the goodness of the Gospel to the realities of my own life and heart.  As a friend has told me, only I can hear what is going through my head and I therefore must be the first and most insistent to apply the Gospel to my life.  However, it is so encouraging to be reminded that when Jesus is at work in our lives others will profit from that as well.  As Youth Works staff at CLDI, I am so thankful to know and spend time with girls ranging from elementary to high school age.  I desperately long for them to know, love, and follow Jesus with their whole life and heart and be able to boldly proclaim the Gospel to others.  I know that only the redemptive story of Jesus Christ pursuing the unfaithful Bride can change someone’s heart.  Only Jesus could handle the beating, pay the penalty of sin, and lift the heavy burden of our shame and guilt.  Therefore, it is immensely important for me to be speaking the Gospel to the hearts of these students in the realities of their daily lives and struggles and for them to hear me doing the same in my own life.  Jesus is always the Hero of the story.  Are we speaking His language fluently?
       Kaylee Bradford, CLDI Youth Works

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