One of the basic claims made by Christians is that God is alive and HE wants to have a relationship with us. We all know that we cannot have a relationship with someone without communication. We need to communicate with our Lord just the way a tennis player plays tennis. One hits the ball over the net then waits for the other one to respond. It cannot be a one-sided discussion. What do our prayers sound like? Lord I want this, Lord I want that. bless me Lord, bless my family. No, that is not a two-way communication. We need to learn to listen.
Years ago I heard a story about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. When he was president he said he got tired of saying the usual things at all the White House receptions. So one evening he decided to find out if anybody was paying attention to what he was saying. As each person came up to him and shook his hand he would smile and say, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”
Person after person greeted him and would respond with, “How lovely,” or “That’s nice.” It was confirmed what FDR believed, no one was listening to him. Finally, a foreign diplomat shook his hand and once again FDR said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The foreign diplomat looked a little shocked but leaned in to the president and said softly, “I’m sure she had it coming to her.” Finally someone did listen to what the president was saying.
Some of you may be saying; How can I know when God is telling me to do something? We have several venues available to us. The first and most important is prayer. Prayer is especially critical when you are unsure of God’s will for your life.
Another way is through God’s Word. The Bible from Genesis to Revelation are all examples for us to follow and understand what God wants from us. Remember God never contradicts himself. He will never ask us to do something contradictory to His Word. He will never ask us to sin. He will never ask us to do something Jesus Christ would not do.
We have the passage of Gideon in the Bible who was not sure that God REALLY wanted him to do something he asked him to do. So, in order to be sure he asked God for a sign to confirm for him. Yes, you can ask God for a sign but be specific. That is referred to as Putting out a Fleece (Judges 6).
As Christians we also have the Holy Spirit to help us discern what is and what is not God’s will for our lives. John 16:13 says that the Spirit of truth…will guide you into all truth. That means that sometimes we Christians get agitated when we are trying to make a decision but the agitation in our spirit letting us know, warning us, that we are on the wrong track. Or perhaps when we are trying to make a decision the Holy Spirit will encourage us and we feel at peace when we are leaning toward the right decision.
Sometimes God will change a situation without us even realizing He has acted. Isaiah 58:11 says the Lord will guide you always. The Lord always prepares us. He never does things half-way. As Christians there is only one voice that matters. It is not my voice, it is not your voice, it is not the voice of the past or the voice of the future. The only voice that matters is the voice of God. May we begin to see things from God’s perspective. If we call Jesus our Lord then it is our responsibility to obey His commands, to do what He wants us to do. Jesus always prayed to His Father; Not my will but His will.
Sometimes God may speak to us in an audible voice. My father was in WWII and was stationed in Italy. My father did not speak much about his years in the war. I have heard this from many others because the war was difficult for them to process. But one thing I remembered him talking about was one night his unit was preparing for the coming of the Germans into the hills. They were told to take cover wherever they could. So, my father and his friend went into a barn thinking it was safe. While he was in the barn, my father said he was praying, and then all of a sudden he heard his name and the words: get out of the barn now! He told his friend, we have to get out of the barn and into the house NOW. He told his friend but his friend would not move, he said I am staying here in the barn where it is safer. My father said I am going into the house. And within 5 minutes a bomb fell in the area and destroyed the barn and his friend. He never told that story without crying and thanking God for His protection.
The relationship that God wants to have with us is rooted in love. John 3:16 is the perfect example of God’s perfect love for you: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. No other verse in the Bible summarizes God’s relationship with humanity and His ultimate love for us. It tells us that the love God has for us and the extent of that love is so great that He sacrificed His only Son on our behalf. God’s love for us inspires our love for God.
Many of us have heard someone say “I want to be close to God” or “I feel far from Jesus” or have even said some of these things ourselves. We say these things because we have been led to believe our relationship with Jesus is based on proximity – a sliding scale of near and far based on faithfulness of our spiritual devotion. But a relationship with Jesus requires more than just being close with Him. Jesus longs to become perfectly one with you. God takes residence in us, invites us to die to ourselves and become a new creation in Him. He invites us into an intimate relationship with Him: union with Christ. Union with Christ refers to relationship between the believer and Jesus Christ. There are countless passages throughout the Bible that reveal that believers are joined in Christ: We are the branches and Jesus is the vine (John 15:5); Jesus is the head and we are His body (1 Corinthians 6:15-19); Christ is the foundation and we are living stones in the foundation (1 Peter 2:4-5). Nothing is more basic or central to knowing and enjoying God than union with Christ. It’s at the heart of our Christian faith. Jesus Christ is dwelling in us and because of this, Jesus is available to us anytime and in anyplace because we believe.
God desires to welcome you into His eternal family as His glorified child. It’s important that you make it a priority to grow in your relationship with Him. Having a personal relationship with God begins the moment we realize our need for Him, admit that we fall short as sinners, and in faith receive Jesus Christ as Savior. As soon as we become children of God, we receive the Holy Spirit, who will begin to work on our hearts. Include God in your daily life. Pray to Him, read His Word daily and reflect on verses in Scripture in an effort to know Him better. Trusting in God to get us through each day and believing that He is the true sustainer of life is how we can not only begin, but also sustain a personal relationship with Him.
Sometimes it is hard to hear God’s voice because we are listening to public opinion and to many other popular voices. Some listen to their own feelings, desires, passions and their own choices. Sometimes people listen to every wind of doctrine that comes along. Then there are others who listen to only new revelations or some wild experience someone has had. Some listen to psychics, read horoscopes, Ouija boards and tarot cards and join wiccan groups. Some listen to those who tickle their ears and tell them only what they want to hear and what is pleasant to consider.
But God is looking for those who are listening for His call. Are you one of them?