It’s been a whirlwind for the past 2 weeks and I’m glad that I have some time this morning to write this very important post that I’ve been mulling over for a very long time.
Hearing from God is a very important thing to me so I’m just gonna take a couple of minutes to distill a lil’ bit of what I know about this in this first of a series of posts that I have planned on the subject.
First and foremost, I think we need to know what the Bible says about some things and in my searching & doubts about my ability to hear from God I came across this particular passage from John’s gospel.
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
The Good Shepherd
The passage above gave me a lot of assurance especially in my questioning on how I know I can hear from God. As I searched my heart I felt led to these 2 things that make up a promise that comes from Jesus’ words.
- The challenge to us: Believe in Jesus & accept Him as Lord of our lives
- The promise to us: By accepting Him as the shepherd of our souls we become His sheep and we can listen to & recognise His voice. He knows us and we follow Him. Of course there are other wonderful gifts too but that one small detail which I have often overlooked just shone through as I read the above one day. Having a promise like that is a big deal once you realise just how much we are designed to be dependent upon God.
I’m still figuring things out but having this assurance means the world to me because there are many times when I wonder if I am able to hear from God or if I’m able to recognise His voice but this passage gives me a comfort that God does indeed gift us with a special privilege to recognise His voice when we have accepted Him into our lives.
Now that we have this foundation in place; tune in later this week in Part 2.
Following the leader, the leader
Following the leader, wherever he may go
So sang the Lost Boys, Wendy, John & Michael Darling in the Disney adaptation of Peter Pan as they trekked through the wilds of Never Never Land on their adventures. The children trusted the mischievous Pan to lead them which sometimes led them to danger & trouble. Unfortunately the same can’t really be said of us in our own relationship with the Shepherd.
We struggle in following His lead and what’s worse is that we blatantly disregard what He is saying. I figure the problem we have with God is an issue of trust. We DISTRUST Him. We don’t truly believe that He has our best interests in mind & we don’t really think He’s got it all worked out when it comes to knowing what’s best for us. Unlike the Lost Boys & the Darlings, we don’t trust Jesus to lead us in life’s many twists & turns. If you think about it; that’s very odd behaviour if you claim to believe in a God who loves you.
Dare we follow the Leader?
The funny thing is that we trust ourselves more even though we know we are limited in our knowledge & wisdom. The sad fact is that we think we know what’s best for ourselves ALL THE TIME and our egos refuse to acknowledge that we could be very, very wrong about certain things in life. A lot of what the Bible says & teaches is counter-cultural so of course we’d struggle to wrap our minds around it. It’s alien. Foreign. To put it into practice requires us to consciously decide to think, act & speak differently. It’s hard. Why? Because we will be swimming against the tide and it’s not easy to be different when everyone else around you condemns that difference.
The question I have this morning is this. Do we truly know the Shepherd’s voice? Do we trust Him enough to follow Him all the way and like the Lost Boys go into difficult & sometimes dangerous situations because we trust Him? This question of trust needs an answer because once we’ve answered it I really believe that when we stop struggling to have our own way, life becomes a little easier to handle cos’ we can trust God with the results whether they are to our expectations or not.
“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love
has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Tough love. That’s what I call the above. Laying down our lives for others. I honestly don’t know if I’m able to do the above. Am learning how to love even when it hurts and it’s hard. In fact there are many times when I feel like giving up and I question the fruitfulness of it all.
It’s easy to love when you are loved back. It’s way harder to love when it feels like all you do is being thrown back at you or even worse when it’s not reciprocated. Tough love cannot be described, it can only be felt and I suppose that’s why we are commanded to love.
When it comes to the crunch, love is a decision that needs to be followed through.
Love that's tough as nails. Nuff' said!
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent me. I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
What an awesome, awesome prayer by Jesus for us. I am increasingly growing to understand just how important it is to have a deep, down knowledge of God in my life. Reading the Bible has become more than just finding something I can apply or a promise I can claim but more importantly it’s peering beyond the veil and finding out what my Father’s heart is.
I struggle with loneliness & acceptance as much as anyone else but as the days go by I am very thankful that I am coming to a deeper knowledge of God’s love for me and it is a lot easier to fill that emptiness with God’s Presence? How do I know that I am experiencing God? Well, experientially for me there’s this sense of calm & peace that just permeates my being as I talk to Him & read the Word every day. There’s this sense that He’s there and I suppose that’s what I mean by having that deep, down knowledge of God.
I remember purposing a long time ago that I’d make this blog something more neutral but I realise that who we are eventually emerges no matter how much we try suppress it. While I love writing about movies, video games & comic books – I end up writing more about faith than anything. Life matters more to me and if my experiences with God can help others, why not write about it?
I’m not all holy, I’m just like any other person in the world and I’m just like any other Christian who struggles to live my life real – pleasing to the One who made me.