Friday, October 12, 2012

Are You Listening?

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now hear.  But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you in all truth.”  John 16:12-13

How many people do you know who are willing to tell you everything about them?  Every detail.  Every failure.  Every hope.  Every dream.  Every piece of truth there is?  And, if by some miracle you can actually name someone, every detail is glorious?

Everyone has faults.  Everyone has moments in their life they would prefer to erase.  Bad choices.  Moments of disobedience.  Times of failure.  It’s part of the human condition.  Our sin nature that none of us are immune to.

But the Good News is Jesus came to bring forgiveness, healing, grace, and hope.  God, in His mercy and kindness toward us, forgives us and is able to transform us into people who are able to live above our human nature by the power of His Spirit living within us.

In John 16, Jesus speaks extensively about the Spirit.  He calls Him the Counselor, the Spirit of truth.  His role is to convict us of sin, teach us righteousness, and remind us the prince of this world (satan) has been condemned.  Living by the Spirit is a powerful way to live, and Paul tells us living by the Spirit will produce much fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

Jesus also tells us something else about the Spirit.  In John 16:13, He says, “When the Spirit of Truth comes he will guide you in ALL truth.  He will not speak on His own, He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is to come.”

Jesus says the words of the Spirit will bring glory to Him and be the very words of God. In 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, Paul says it this way: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him, but God has revealed it to us through His Spirit.’

How exciting is that!  We can hear what God has to say to us, and He wants to tell us everything about Himself.  He doesn’t want to keep any secrets from us.  He has nothing to hide.  No dark corners.  No skeletons in the closet.  He is glorified when He reveals Himself and speaks the truth, because He is glorious!  He has good things to say.  Things we need to know and understand.  Things about ourselves He wants to bring out in the open so there can be forgiveness and healing.  Things about His heart that will cause us to love Him because He is lovable.

He is love.  He is mercy.  He is truth.  He is grace.  He is holy.  And when we listen and believe and obey, we see how glorious He is.

When we listen.  I think we often live as if we’re waiting for God to speak to us.  And sometimes we must wait for specific guidance and answers to our prayers.  But more often, we’re simply not listening.  He’s declaring His love, but we turn a deaf ear and feel worthless.  He’s telling us what’s right, but we think our own idea and way is better and we make the wrong choice that brings pain.  He asks us to trust Him but we waste our time, energy, and money to chart our own course and take care of ourselves.  He offers wisdom, but we realize too late we never took the time to listen.  He’s trying to teach us something through a difficult circumstance, but we never ask, ‘What are You trying to teach me, Lord?’  We’re being too loud with our whining and complaining and blaming to ever hear why God is trying to get our attention.

In Jeremiah 31, God talks about a new covenant He will make with His people.  He says, “I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts.”  Jesus talked about this covenant when He spoke of the Holy Spirit.

You don’t have to wait for a prophet, rabbi, or pastor to speak to you.  You don’t have to wait for Sunday to hear what God has to say.  You don’t even have to crack open your Bible or wait for one of my epic blogs...or someone truly great.  He will speak to you through His Word when you read it, and He will speak to you through others at times, but if that’s the only way you listen, that limits how much He can say and how much of His glory He can reveal.

Don’t miss a thing.  God speaks TO YOU.  Listen.

“I am the LORD your God who teaches you what is good and leads you along the paths you should follow.” Isaiah 48:17 (NLT)