Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Things That Hinder Our Hearing God And The Thing That Keep Us From Obeying

Who are You, Lord?” — Acts 26:15

“God speaks in the language you know best— not through your ears, but through your circumstances. God has to destroy our determined confidence in our own convictions. We say, ‘I know that this is what I should do’ — and suddenly the voice of God speaks in a way that overwhelms us by revealing the depths of our ignorance.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, January 29.

Knowing what is right to do … the God-thing … and what you actually choose to do are two often quite different.  Knowing you should not cross the tracks when a train is coming and deciding to wait for the train to pass are two different things.  When you approach the tracks a thought comes to mind … “I think I can beat the train to the crossing.”  Sometimes you are right and other times .. you are dead-wrong.  That is the way it is with believing and obeying God.  God offers His best, and even if you beat the train to the crossing, you have settled for less than God’s best for you.  It may bring satisfaction for a moment, but God deals in the eternal .. not the temporal.  The heavenly not the earthly.  Dr. Henry Blackaby, in Experiencing God, said that God speaks to us in four ways – by His Spirit (the still small voice saying “This is  the way”) – through prayer – by His Word (the sword of Truth, a light and lamp for us to see the way) – through other Believers – and, as Chambers suggested – through circumstances.  Dr. Blackaby went on to say that our problem is not in knowing what God said to us – the problem is obeying what God said.  The Scripture is replete with examples of disobedience.  Hearing God and doing something else because they thought they knew better.

When Paul, then Saul, met Jesus on the road, Saul’s world was shaken. He was convinced that he was doing right in persecuting Christians – convinced that they were wrong.  They had to be! What they believed violated all that he accepted as right. But he was wrong.

For the Christian, hearing God requires two things to be true.  First, our heart must be right … unconfessed sin will hinder your hearing.  Second is the practice of spiritual discipline in our lives .. if you don’t pray .. if you don’t read the Word … if you don’t associate with other Christians who are doing those things … if your focus is on yourself and not God as you live life, then don’t expect anything more than the conviction of the Spirit.  All too often we want to be our own god and decide what is best for us.  

We won’t accept any advice that is not consistent with what we have decided is the best for us.  “I am going to beat that train and you are bad if you don’t agree with me!” We ignore our sins .. having decided they are really not that bad, they are acceptable as far as we are concerned.  We pray asking only for things that support our plan for peace and fulfillment.  We avoid other Christians who will not agree with us.  The fact is that we are practicing vain religion.  We have a form of godliness but deny the power of God in favor of our own devices.  In short we are carnal but are convinced we are spiritual.  

My best and only advice to a Christian who is living like this is repent – you need more Jesus and less you.  You have accepted a life that falls short of God’s plan for you  .. and one day … you won’t beat the train.

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