Barb's Space

Observations about life, family, church...anything else that is on my mind from the perspective that God rules, no matter what

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Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States

I am a 66 year young woman who has changed much in the last few years. I'm single again. I changed jobs twice (learned new skills), had a serious stroke in 2008, "retired" and after getting better started taking up new interests, and am continuing to get more fit. Some things have matured. I've enjoyed watching my three guys grow into men I respect and am proud of. One waited 11 years to have his first birth child. Today I'm a grandma of six (four boys and 2 girls between two families) with a third girl on the way. I have learned to love Jesus even more, and I have regained my sense of adventure. Someone said, "The best is yet to be."--I believe it, if I keep an open mind and heart and keep growing and walking with God.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Hearing God's Voice--What's Stopping Me?

Everybody who is a Christian wants to hear God "speak," to be able to receive His guidance and direction. The only problem is that we don't always know how to hear Him. - Right? Well, not always. I'm going to come at this from an unusual, for me, angle. Usually I focus on what God sounds like, the different ways people can hear Him, etc. But today, I woke up thinking about the roadblocks to hearing God speak to my heart.

I need to ask myself if I really want to hear Him and obey. The book of James talks about hearing God through His Word, then going away and forgetting what He said, and what His Word says I'm really like without obedience. There is no point to it. Why should God direct my life if I refuse His direction?

This brings me to a deeper question: why would I refuse His direction, or if I wanted to be more polite, just go away and not do it? The answer I come up with is that I really want what I want more than I want what He wants. An example: have you ever thought to yourself, "Yes, I want to go to heaven, but first I want to live a full life here?" I've thought that. It is natural, healthy, and normal.
God didn't create us as robots without preferences. Preferences make us individuals. Regarding the above thought, not to want to live a full life under many circumstances could be viewing heaven as a "Christian escape hatch," which is not good. The only time this (or any other thought of "but first I want") is wrong and a roadblock to hearing God is when I allow that to override something He's specifically asking of me.

Jesus had wants--some included not wishing to see Lazarus His friend die (even though He knew the end of the story) and not wanting to die on the cross. What was His response? To the first, He stayed away because He heard God speak--then after three days He went because God spoke again, and God raised Lazarus from the dead. That had to be difficult not to go to his friend Lazarus right away when he got sick. About not wanting to go to the cross and die, He asked God to do it any other way if possible, but, and here's the key, ended up sincerely giving His will to God and saying, "Not my will, but Yours be done." Equally important, He meant it. - He backed it up with obedient action.

The question today for me it seems, is not how to hear God's voice, but instead, am I willing to? How deep is my commitment to His will, plans, and purposes over my own? When confronted with a hard choice that goes against my desires and/or opinions, will I agree with Him or myself? How much do I really want to see "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven?" What am I willing to give up to see that happen? Jesus in one of His stories tells us about a man who started to build something, but came up short and didn't have the means to finish it. He tells us to count the cost, that is, not to walk into anything
lightly that involves commitment, or it will be impossible to finish successfully.

The good news as I consider all this is that the Bible not only doesn't expect me to but says I can't do all God asks on my own through the strength of self-will. That won't work, because my will falls short. Instead, Jesus' followers say things like Phil 2:13
NLT: "For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him." There is also a prayer in the Bible concerning this very thing: Heb 13:20 NLT - "And now, may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, all that is pleasing to Him." - With God in my corner, I know I can come to the kind of commitment He desires, and as I do so, I don't believe I'll ever have to wonder again if I hear or how to hear His voice.

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