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27 August 2012

Listen to God - 27 August

God loves us. He is our life – we are alive because He breathed life into Adam. We can’t exist unless God allows it. He is our creator, and He made the world for our enjoyment. He has provided us everything we need.

When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Gen 2:5-9 (ESV)

We have privileges. We are placed on this earth to rule. But with privilege comes responsibility. We were created perfectly, but the temptation of that tree in the garden was too much for Eve, and then for Adam. Before the couple fell for Satan’s trickery, they spoke directly with God (Genesis 2 and 3). Imagine the created beings speaking directly with the One who created them. Ahhhhh wouldn’t it be wonderful? But instead of sticking with God’s plan, they listened to Satan. God stopped talking to them directly. And because of that original sin, we need a Mediator even today. We cannot speak directly to God.

We can’t speak to God and yet we are expected to communicate with Him.  He has made that possible through the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict us of our sin. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes sure we know that we need God. Once we’ve accepted the free gift of salvation, the Holy Spirit’s focus changes and He becomes our comforter and counselor.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:15-17 (KJV)

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26 (KJV)

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8  And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10  concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11  concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15  All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:7-15 (ESV)

When we become Christians, we are new creatures. What does that mean? How does our “new birth” affect Adam’s sin?  What does any of that have to do with our Christian walk, and with our ability to listen to God?

As we grow in Christ, we begin to see ourselves for what we are – a sinner who God is forming, shaping, and transforming as a potter shapes a piece of clay. As we see ourselves, our sins, our strengths and our weaknesses clearly, we begin to see others in the same light. Jesus gave us a specific command regarding others:

These things I command you, so that you will love one another. John 15:17 (ESV)

Why did Jesus have to give this command? Is it easier to look at others differently than we look at ourselves?

I, like most people, have a specific set of preferences. If a person doesn’t fit into “my” mold, I am less likely to want to interact with him or her. The further from “my” ideal a person is, the more likely I am to turn my back on them. But Jesus tells me to do something else. He says I am to love everyone.  What does this commandment have to do with listening to God? Can I hear God if I love someone who to me is unlovely? Does obeying Jesus (and obeying all that’s in the Bible) help me to listen to God? Of course it does! If I start with the basic command – love one another – and I see that it has a positive effect on my life and the life of others, will I be more likely to listen to other commands from God?

Today we talked about understanding the truth – that the Holy Spirit is here to guide and comfort us, and that we are to listen to what’s written in the Book. That’s called comprehending the truth. On Wednesday we will talk about conforming ourselves to the truth. We will talk about what it takes to do what God wants us to do.

If you have questions, comments or prayer requests, please email me or leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing from you! I wish you the best of years! See you Wednesday.

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