Let’s get a little uncomfortable.
I know you don’t want to but as we read about receiving a word from God let’s ask a very tough question.
What if the word you receive from God is not a word that you want?
Dr. Willard poses this question in a very Biblical way: “are you a ready vessel?”
We settle into our patterns of life. All of us do. We may not be happy. We may want more in life. We may think we are not living the way we are supposed to live.
However, we have adjusted to life as it is.
Human beings are like that, and even though we may think we want to hear from God, what if God sends us a “disturbing word?”
What if we hear God say, “give up a possession you cherish,” “change your occupation and become a more mission-oriented person,” “dedicate yourself to your church,” or “that habit you have; you have to quit that.”
As I have said in the past, for a message to be received, we have to play the role of the receiver. What if our attitude is “I am ok the way I am,” “thanks but no thanks God,” or “let me get back to you on that one Lord.”
The bottom line. We want God on our own terms.
When we have a terrific need, we pray to Him.
When we are in a pinch, we implore Him.
When we just have a desire for something, we ask Him for it like He is Santa.
But what if He says that to become my follower, “YOU NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE.”
What is your purpose for God anyhow? Is He just a convenience that you pull out when you need Him? Is He the edge you seek when you need a little something extra? When you want to make a good impression, do you “play the God card?”
This brings in the all-important question, “Why would God speak to someone who is not even in business with Him?” And if you are not in business with God, are you what Dr. Willard calls a “ready vessel.”
Let’s be honest.
If you are not willing to receive His messages, you are not getting them.
He may be speaking to you but you are ignoring Him.
He may be speaking a disturbing word.
You don’t want to be disturbed. Are you a “ready vessel?”
You are not.
This brings up the question. How do I become a “ready vessel?” What do I need to do?
1.Make sure that God is number 1 in your life.
Above all your other concerns in your life, He is on top. You exist to do His will. You are aware of the many distractions of life but you know that those distractions are just distractions and that is all. The most important thing for you is your relationship with God.
2.You know that your main acts in life are doing His will.
You may have to do some things to make a living, you may have to do what you have to do to keep your family together, but underneath it all you know that the job exists to give you an income to live and the family is a gift from God even though it has challenges from time to time. But when God calls in your life, you are there to do what He wants. Even if it is inconvenient. He is your real Boss.
3.Your number one objective is to find a way to be like Christ.
You know that is every “real” Christian’s objective. God has given you a job to do. To put it bluntly, He wants you to bless others in your time here on earth. Dr. Willard states that we should “live among His people and serve them and Him in this world.” We can say “My life is to bless others in the name of God.”
In Chapter 4, Dr. Willard challenges us. He makes strong points that there is a big difference between a “real” Christian and a Christian who uses God as a convenience.
He cites G. Morgan Campbell who basically says that the person who is not disturbed from time to time by God’s voice is not living a Christian life. Christians who make their own plans and are content to do what they please are probably not living a true Christian life. To quote Campbell, they are “living still in the land of slavery, in the land of darkness.”
Then Willard cites Frank Laubach who felt he lived a dead life, like a “rotting tree” until he got real with God and decided to do God’s will in his life: “I would find God’s will, and I would do that will though every fiber in me said no, and I would win the battle of my thoughts.”
Are you ready to receive a word from God?
Dr. Willard makes a good point: a ready vessel is one that is open to receiving the Spirit that is poured out from our Lord and Savior.
God is not an intrusion in our lives.
God is the reason we are here on earth.
Know that and you will be ready to hear from Him.