How are we to proceed? According to the scriptures we studied during Sunday's message Listen to His Voice..Not the World , the Christian has but two sources of authority - God and His Word. We learned in our previous study Walking with Jesus - Knowing God's Word that our relationship with the Bible is mission critical. We now understand that we are ineffectual in the war against sin without our only offensive weapon, the Sword of the Spirit. But why do we need to hear from God Himself if we have the scriptures?
First, reading the Bible doesn't automatically equate to Listening to His Voice. The message Sunday illustrated that ( Mt 5:1-2 , Prv 4:20-23) we need to be paying close attention, immersed in this top-three (love, hear, & obey God) most important thing we can do with our lives. We know from God's literal call on Samuel that we can listen to Him, hear Him, and yet not harken to Him. The word "Harken" describes a hear-listen-obey reaction that is submitted, diligent, and volitional. It's the obedience-with-abandon part that makes the difference. We believers are found of saying we hunger for more of Jesus Christ, yet we ignore the one section of scripture that teaches us how to get Him to show up (manifest) in our lives ( John 14:21 )!
Why, in the final analysis, is the lesson in Listen to His Voice..Not the World so vital? Because of what happens, and fails to happen, if we don't.
We in Sow What? realized that if we are not listening to His voice, in all of it's facets, then we are not only forsaking the manifestation of Christ in our lives, we are not truly in relationship with Him at all. Think about it.
- If we pray but don't listen, we might as well be talking to ourselves or a neighbor as our omniscient Creator.
- If we read the scriptures but don't listen, we might as well be reading the uninspired works of < insert latest guru's name here>. When we don't harken, we are not washing our minds with the Word and building our faith.
- If we go to Church but don't listen, we miss the precision guidance that the Holy Spirit has for us as a local body.
1. Study and understand the obedience factor from John 14:21. The last instructions Christ gave us before leaving the planet were to love Him fully, and to love others as ourselves; loving God and loving others are inseparably one. If we hear-listen- and obey Him in the missions/instructions that he gives us, that is part of our medicine/healing and of our deeper connectedness to Him. The medicine/healing then enables further obedient fulfillment of missions, again leading to better relationship and rest within Him. God cannot reward disobedience.
2. Remain mindful that God is alive and working with you, now. He has guidance for you, and desires fellowship with you this very moment. You cannot do what you do not harken to. By scriptural precedent, God has spoken to us via the Bible, His prophets, audibly, through His creation (specifically through angels, animals, the manifest universe, miracles, and other believers), in Person, and by the myriad unctions of the Holy Spirit. None of this is relationship building absent consistent time listening to Him. Intimacy in a relationship with God means we vote with our feet, all the time, to move further up the mountain of God when He calls.
3. Harken, Respond, Repeat. Spiritually, its all a dialogue; prayer, preaching, worship, ministry - even reading the word.
4. Understand the need for deliberate solitude and purity. Get alone with God. If the President desired to speak to you, you would, whatever your opinion of him, be attentive and polite. You would not clutter that conversation with nonsense while, say, you texted somebody else. We need to be as deliberate with God, only more so. First, because He is the Almighty God. Secondly, because the static from our flesh, hearts, and the world is incessant. We must deliberately strive for Biblical purity, lest we adulterate our communications with God.
5. Pray for Constancy in love, fellowship, faith, speech, and deed.