Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. ~ Jeremiah 33:3
Me and God, we’re wrestling today. A bit of a tousle really, and it has me all kinds of worked-up. Maybe you know what that’s like.
Have you ever felt that nudge in your Spirit? The one which takes you by surprise? Then, when you realize what’s being said you respond with, “What? Nah, that can’t be right.” And you proceed to justify all the reasons it can't be.
What if it is? What if it’s really the voice of God and we’re either ignoring it, dismissing it, or downright disobeying it?
The irony of this morning’s tousling has me torn between clenched fists or hands laid open. Will I obey what I think God is saying to me? What if I’m wrong, and this, that, and the other thing happen as a result? Facts show one thing, but God’s spirit tells me another.
With deep breaths I’m choosing to obey. I’m stepping back from sharing my blog posts on my Facebook profile, at least through October. My stats show that a large number of page views come through Facebook. By not sharing my posts there, it feels a bit like death to worldly writer success. Which is probably a good thing. I'd rather have God open doors no man can shut.
“But,” I argue with God, “don’t you know I have an agent and I’m working on a book proposal that needs to see higher page views listed?”
“God, don’t you know…?”
Sounds like an argument to me. Of course God knows. He not only knows what’s going on, but he knows what’s best. For me and for his plan. The question always comes down to, “Will I trust him?”
If we want to know God well, we need to trust what he knows. In order to do so, we need to listen and respond out of obedience.
I have to laugh at the way this plays out. I shake my head and say, “For real?” This nudge from the Spirit comes at the same time I read an email that my second paid article for iBelieve went live last Friday. The title? 6 Things You Can Do to Hear the Voice of God. I want to share it on Facebook, but I just heard from God to step back. Leave it to him. Take a break from sharing.
When I wrote this piece, I wanted to add a follow-up piece which addresses reasons we may not hear God speaking to us. One of them is disobedience.
Still breathing deep.
When God nudges our hearts to act in one way or another and we continually disobey this nudge, our hearts become hardened. God may or may not stop speaking, but either way, we’ve essentially blocked ourselves from hearing further.
An unwilling and disobedient heart will not keep hearing and knowing the will of God.
We might get scared to obey what we think he's saying because we don’t know where it will lead. But that’s just it. Even when we don’t know, we must choose to trust and to act. When we choose activated faith, we face our fears and we find God with us. Our faith tests the goodness of God and if we don't stop looking for it, we will find it because God never changes. He is always good.
Yes, even in the painful things which don't make sense. Even when he too is sad because of the way you've been hurt; truth remains unchanged.
One of the Greek words used for “obey” in the New Testament (peitho) also means to listen, to put confidence in, and to trust. To respond in obedience is to listen when God speaks and respond with trust.
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. ~ Isaiah 55:8
You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. ~ Galatians 5:7
Admittedly, that first verse doesn't feel so good, still it's his word. The second one seems more pleasant. At least to me. It reminds me not to give up. It encourages me to keep seeking truth out and obeying it.
Learning to listen in such a way that we can hear God speaking to our hearts requires attention and intention. Continuing to hear from God also requires obedience.
Friends, I'm preaching to myself as much as stating the words here. It's hard to let go of the way we think things should work out. Yet, time and time again, God has proven himself faithful, even in ways I don't like. Just as he did throughout scripture.
If we call to him, he will answer. It may not be in the way we think, the way we want, or when we want, but he will answer.
Time and time again, choose obedience.
CULTIVATE: Is there something the Spirit is nudging in your heart and you are finding it hard to obey? Let's pray. God - help us to hear. Give us courage to respond. Show us your presence when we do. Amen.
Enjoy this graphic from my friend Heather Haupt, writer at Cultivated Lives. She has a book coming soon with Penguin-Random House Publishers that will be a blessing to moms and dads everywhere. Hint: it has to do with raising chivalrous boys in our modern day.