Dr. Willard promises at the end of Chapter 3 that we will be getting into the nitty gritty of hearing from God in Chapter 4.
He wants to make one more point before he begins.
“Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God” [Proverbs 2: 3-5].
We must make sure that we understand God.
I found an interesting point or two on the “Christianity Net Website” about this topic. A human being trying to understand God is like a gnat trying to understand an Archangel.
Well that may be an exaggeration but you get the point.
What makes it hard?
According to “CN”, “As human beings, we are created – we don’t have our origins within ourselves, but because of someone else. And we are finite, whereas He is infinite. We are in time; He exists outside of it. To Him, every time is now and everything is possible, a mere expression of His will. By contrast, I can’t even prevent myself from doing the very things I know in my heart I don’t want to do. To say that humans and God are different is the ultimate understatement. No wonder we have a hard time understanding Him.”
The reasons we don’t understand God can go on and on but you know how hard it is…it’s hard.
Yet Dr. Willard says that hearing from God is based on our “correct general understanding of God and His ways.”
The Bible of course. However many people approach the Bible as a series of stories that are supposed to be meaningful. The Bible is more than that. It is a pathway to know God.
Still, many Christians struggle to understand the Old Testament and this is very believable. It is the story of God’s effort to contact man but the effort is basically through a “top-down” autocratic relationship. That is not to say that the God of the Old Testament was not benevolent from time to time but He could be judgmental from time to time too.
Then along comes Jesus, God’s Divine intercessor, God born into a human body, growing up and learning as a child, suffering and struggling just like all human beings do. This can be our best avenue to know God, but we still struggle.
I have been around a lot of Christians and it seems many of them want it “easy.” I hate to say this, but a truly hungry Christian is rare. Here are some things I see daily.
Adult Sunday School students who don’t read their lessons and come to class unprepared.
Adult Christians who thrive on study that is on a junior high level of reading.
Adults Christians who never open their Bible at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe God has to meet us where we are and then He will move us along. However, could you move yourself along a little bit? Commit to learning as much as you can. Make a habit of reading good Christian materials. Attend Sunday School and read the lessons and come prepared to discuss.
I sound fussy! My wife gets on me about this a lot, but as we enter this next section of Hearing God, Dr. Willard calls it an “intellectual and spiritual hard hat area” where many Christians may receive injury to their practical faith in God.
Don’t look for the easy; deal with the challenging.
Don’t be satisfied with comfort; study the tough ideas and experience real growth.
John Stott [many of you know he is one of my favorite authors] wrote a little book called Your Mind Matters. In his book he gives reasons why it is important for us to think: 1.God created us with minds 2.to understand God, we are going to have to think on the highest level we can 3.thinking renews the mind and we all need that from time to time 4.we are judged by our knowledge [on earth and in heaven].
So let’s do what Dr. Willard says we need to do: “Put on your hard hardhat, your hard nose and your best brains, and prayerfully dig in.”