The Value of Plain Speaking

As we get close to the last chapter of Hearing God Dr. Willard has some important things to say about God communicating to us through plain speaking.

You might ask, what is plain speaking?

Here are some descriptions. Talking in simple, clear words.  Speaking the truth directly to another person.  Communicating to someone without a hidden agenda.  Expressing thoughts that are not manipulative.

Can God speak to us plainly?

Dr. Willard thinks He can.

As we have explored every “nook and cranny” of this book, we have encountered people who describe the voice of God as “mysterious”. The voice of God has come in “curious circumstances”.  Some readers of the Bible have reported “special scriptural nuances” [Willard, 190].

But does it have to be that way?

Can God cut through all the “mumbo jumbo” and communicate to us in a plain manner?

Of course He can.

In fact, Dr. Willard says “God is not a mumbling trickster.”

Vague communication is a style of talking that is common with many people. The first type of person who seems to be the master of this type of talk is the politician.  They are hard to pin down.  What does this sentence mean?  What does it mean when they say one thing and then contradict themselves?  A salesperson can be vague as they only want to mention certain positive aspects of the product they are selling.  They don’t want to express the “whole truth.”  If they express everything positive and negative about their product, there are reasons not to buy it.  A husband employs vague language when asked a direct question by his wife.   How does this dress make me look?   Is this a good color on me?   Have I lost a few pounds?   All questions that will impact life in a negative manner if the wrong answer is given.  Husbands don’t want that so they employ extremely vague responses.

But one must ask the question, what benefit does God get by being vague?

No benefit at all.

What does He require from us to receive His words in a plain way? He wants us to be prepared to hear what He has to say and be prepared to obey His message.

That’s the catch.

You might think that is not too bad, but what if you are not willing to hear His message and more than that, you are not willing to obey His words? What if God asks you to change your career?  What if God asks you to commit a large sum of money to a person in need?  What if God asks you to reach out to someone, someone that you don’t like?  He wants you to mend fences and work with this person.

In short, the message is not really what you want to hear.

My guess is that God is probably not going to send regular messages to the hesitant Christian. Whereas, the Christian who is willing to obey may be “the men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” [2 Peter 1:21].

The bottom line is when we get a message from God that has that “divine quality, spirit, intent and origination” we need to act.

Dr. Willard closes Chapter 8 with words I want to use.

“Our faith is strengtened by this, and we are able to claim our part in the unified reign of God in his people throughout history on earth and in heaven” [Willard, 191].

Step 1: God speak’s plainly.

Step 2: We hear the message.

Step 3: We act.

Step 4: We are happy and God is happy.

The value of plain speaking…

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