20 Dec Is Hospitality Limited to a Welcoming Home?
At the beginning of this past semester, I moved into an apartment with five girls. Approaching this season of living with new roommates and living in a location that would likely become a hub for many friends on a regular basis, I began to pray over our season in this specific apartment.
I prayed for the Lord to allow this sweet seasonal home to be a place where others would feel welcomed in and that would provide rest and refuge for everyone who walked through the doors. While this prayer was sincere, I romanticized the idea a little bit, imagining God draping sheets of rest and refuge over our apartment. I envisioned friends walking into a cozy space and immediately experiencing divine respite from whatever darkness or heaviness existed in their world.
I didn’t really have a realistic concept of what that would look like practically.
As we settled in, my roommates and I rearranged our couches to create more space for guests, hung string lights, mounted floating shelves and picture frames, and set out candles. In my mind, this all contributed to the “rest and refuge” purpose I’d been praying over this little shared space.
“While this prayer was sincere, I romanticized the idea a little bit, imagining God draping sheets of rest and refuge over our apartment.”
After a couple of months, schedules picked up, our clutter and mess accumulated, and I realized that there was nothing magical or mystical about our apartment.
Ironically, during this season, I began to go through the A Woman’s Words study. Little did I know, the Lord was answering my prayer for creating an environment of rest and refuge, but not in a way I expected. He began to make it clear that emotional and spiritual rest and refuge isn’t a product of a perfect home, but is actually something that we can provide and invite others into through our words.
The words study walks through our calling to be an Ezer, to come alongside and bring strength to others. It explains how our words and this calling go hand-in-hand, yet how our fallen, broken, sinful natures corrupt this calling.
“He began to make it clear that emotional and spiritual rest and refuge isn’t a product of a perfect home, but is actually something that we can provide and invite others into through our words.”
In so many ways, our words tear down, hurt, and destroy those around us, whether they are critical, harsh, insecure, impatient, demanding, or simply self-promoting. James makes it clear that we cannot control our tongues no matter how hard we try, and we cannot escape the sin of our untamable tongues (James 3).
Our tongues are sometimes the most inescapable exposure of the state of our hearts. But, through the gospel, we are not only redeemed from our speech, but also filled with the Holy Spirit and called to put on a new nature that reflects that of Christ.
This study discusses how Paul instructs the early churches to allow the Holy Spirit to renew their minds and attitudes in order that they might reflect the image of God more—charging them to be representatives of Him in their speech and actions (Colossians 3:10; 3:16-17).
God is our ultimate Rescuer, the One we can run to for safety, comfort, rest, and hope. If we are doing this regularly, then through the Holy Spirit, our words will spring up from that state of our hearts into fruitful, encouraging words that invite others in, shed light on truth, draw gently to repentance, and breathe life back into others.
“God is our ultimate Rescuer, the One we can run to for safety, comfort, rest, and hope.”
As I began to process some of these ideas, I realized that there is work to be done in the speech that I produce. The words that linger in our homes, at work, or even in a passing moment, will only be truly safe, strengthening, hospitable, charitable, and restorative, when they are an overflow of the work of Christ in us, and when they are reflective of His character and mission.
What does it look like to be hospitable and restorative with our words? In what ways do we struggle to reflect Christ in our speech?
Audrey is a Clemson student and big fan of warm weather, fall hikes, and anything sweet. You will most likely find her sipping on coffee, laughing off her awkward moments, and spending time with her family and friends. Audrey attends our Powdersville campus.