I promise. It is time to move on to Chapter 2.
For you readers who want to tackle a chapter a week, you may wonder where I am in Dr. Willard’s book.
Well I am still lingering in Chapter 1.
Today I am going to write on the very last words of Chapter 1, the topic for reflection question at the end of the chapter.
The book has been “fertile ground” for me so far; I pray the blog and reading of his book has been fertile ground for you.
Here is the question.
Would you really like to be spoken to by God?
First, what is inherent in this question?
Maybe it implies that you have not received a word from Him. The fact that the question is worded “would you really like to be spoken to by God?” indicates that maybe communication from God has not happened. Maybe some of you feel you do hear from God frequently or at least you can say it has happened sometime in your life.
Let’s break the question down even more.
Let’s say that God plans to speak to you.
Do you want to hear what God will be telling you?
Will God give you an answer to a prayer? Will God tell you how to solve a problem you have? Will God put an idea in your head, an idea that you need?
Let me give you an example that may serve from my life.
I have been teaching a Sunday school class on suffering and God’s role in it. Yesterday, I read a daily topic from a book of devotions that I have and the topic was about the idea that people suffer and they blame God. It was timely for me. It said that some people believe that God is some disconnected “entity” who does not want to get involved or even worse, God initiates the suffering of others and he is standing back and letting people wallow in it.
But no, the writer of the devotion said, God does not want you to suffer. He knows all about the anguish of suffering through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ on the cross. He is not disconnected. As argument against a disconnected God, he writes that people need to reflect on what Jesus did on the cross for us. People need to reflect on the sacrifice God made of His only Son.
Why do I bring this up?
I have people in my Sunday School class who are being touched by a teaching video we are watching right now. The video is so dramatic, that I often need some extra help to get my class through the discussion.
Maybe I need some help from God.
Here’s my question to you. Did my turning to the devotion and exposure to the idea of Jesus suffering on the cross come from God?
I am not sure of course, but if it didn’t, it sure came at a convenient time.
If it did come from God, I just thank Him.
Another example; the Holy Spirit is a constant source of guidance for all of us and the working of our Holy Spirit is connected directly to God; a prime communication link to God. I have been alone at home a lot this morning and I have had time to be lazy. When I get that way, I have to find a way to kick start myself into working and working is just what I need to do. I can waste a lot of time doing useless things that yield no fruit whatsoever, but I don’t want to live my life that way.
I want to use my time. I want to accomplish good, helpful things; I want to work to make the world a better place.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to kill myself working and have the stress that I had when I was a full-time professor at my college. But I don’t want to flitter my time away doing things that are of no value.
Why do I bring this up? The Holy Spirit convicts me sometimes when I get “off track”; “my helper” tells me to get to work and get something done. That conviction is a message from God. It is helpful. It keeps me busy and the busier I am, the happier I am.
Should I become obsessed with “hearing a word” from God?
I don’t think so. As we have seen in Chapter 1, people can misinterpret a word, they can manipulate a word for their own gain, they can cause trouble because their “word” does not agree with others or even Scripture, they can sew discord if they believe that their word trumps the concerns of others.
God may speak a word to you. He may not.
If you think God has spoken to you, would it be best to keep the word to yourself and just obey?
If someone questions your actions, don’t say “God told me.” I am not sure that will help. Just do what you know you must do and do not make a big deal about it.
Process the message and get busy.