Faith comes by hearing 5

2015-04.5

Mark 12:30

Friday, January 30, 2015

Three helps

Titanic headline

A story we are all familiar with, and the screaming headlines tell it in a few words. God’s way of communicating with us is a different kind of voice and tone, much more about sharing hearts.

Mark 12:30
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Let’s get practical now. We have talked about the what and why of God speaking to us, and us being guided by Him. That’s important, because what we do or don’t understand determines what we can or can’t believe – and that adds up to a big factor in what we do or don’t do.

It’s the same in the Christian life as any other part of life. Faith is opposed to sight, not knowledge. Grace is opposed to earning, but it doesn’t deny the need for effort on our part. So it’s good to study His ways of communicating with us. Unspiritual? Not at all. He commands us to love Him with all of our mind, as well as with all our heart, soul and strength (Mark 12:30 and consider also the first eight chapters of Proverbs).

But now we want to get to what it looks like — how it handles on the test flight. How can we come to walk with some confidence with God having a conversational presence in our lives?

If he has something important to show you or warn you about, He’ll get your attention. He’ll get through. You may have had experience of this. But day to day:

1. It helps if you want to hear what He has to say.
Why wouldn’t you? Well, there could be a hundred reasons. Truth can be uncomfortable, and we often prefer our own version of it. We like to be in charge, we like our opinions and we like predictability, and what God says has a way of overturning all of that. Helpfully, kindly, but still doing some overturning. And if we’re intent on living our life, our way, with little regard for what He says is right or wrong – if we’re gossiping or judging or engaged in what is objectively unrighteous or crossing a moral line, well, by definition we are not listening. Even politicians struggle to address those who reject what they stand for.

2. It helps if you want Him for Himself, not as a problem-fixer.
How keen are you to listen for His voice when you’re not in trouble or facing a decision that you don’t know how to handle? That’s your answer… God is a Father who seeks a 24-7 relationship. If we treat Him like a rescue service, we’re not giving Him permission to be our Father.

3. It helps if you can give Him space to speak.
God tends not to deliver sound-bites. The Holy Spirit is a gentle spirit whose way is prompting and questioning, somewhat indirect at times. That’s quite different from the concise and unambiguous ’newsman’s English’ which sacrifices heart in order to be direct. God’s way of communicating does not need to be fast-paced – it needs to be like Him speaking. So for us to create intentional space in the busyness of life – easy if you know how – gives the greatest opportunity to the Spirit, who is quite a shy person who never forces his view, but welcomes space to ask us questions instead.

Just a little more to come on the practicalities, as we draw this particular topic towards a close.

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