August 19, 2008

Humility First

Last week, I shared about one of the most common questions I get, "How do I hear God's voice?" Briefly recapping the four-fold answer: 1- From the Bible; 2-Personal Prayer; 3-Wise Counsel from Others; 4- Circumstances. All four should intersect but, it really begins with attitude. Let's start by taking a brief look at the need for humility.

Humility and a willingness to admit a need for direction from God remains a prerequisite to hearing His voice when we seek Him out. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden, our pride builds a wall, keeping us separate from a creator who desires relationship. Yet, we are not without hope. God makes a promise to us that if we seek Him out, He will not turn away from us. In fact, in the book of John, Jesus says "...whoever comes to me I will never drive away."

Many of Jesus' words sting when we read them. The stinging comes from God telling it like it is, bringing us the truth about our nature and His character and standards, thereby cutting through all our reasoning and excuses as to why we don't come to Him. Unfortunately, our resistance also keeps us from His blessings and His life-giving sacrifice!

The religious leaders of Jesus' day were infuriated by him equating himself with God, yet verse upon verse, chapter upon chapter of the Bible shows this to be the truth. In fact, Jesus rebukes the religious leaders who would rather read and study about God instead of encountering Him personally. "You dilegently study the Scriptures because by them you think you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." Don't misunderstand. The study of the Bible is very important, but if our study of it consumes us and keeps us from an imtimate relationship with God, we've missed the entire point of the book! Isn't this like our culture today? We enjoy philosophizing and love finding the newest leader to follow, the latest self-help guru, the hottest book and trend? We're always learning, but how often are we able to acknowledge the truth- and then choose to live by it.

As you can tell, humility to seek God is the foundational step to hearing His voice. Thankfully, we don't just seek God, He chases after us as well. Jesus' words bring encouragement to us. "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him, and he with me." It's our choice, but He is there. Next time, we'll briefly cover the primary means of hearing God, how we can hear God's voice through the Bible.

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