Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Beware of Open Doors - Lenten Journey Day 5

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

As I returned home this morning and started to approach my garage I noticed a little toddler girl walking with her grandmother.  As I waited at the stop sign I pressed my garage opener to give it time to open. Although they had already passed my place, the little girl heard the garage door, did a 180-turn and began running towards my garage.  Her grandmother quickly caught her, but the little girl was convinced that the garage opened for her and kept pulling in the other direction.  Her grandmother motioned toward my vehicle as if to point out that the garage was opening for me, not her.  Finally the little girl walked away, reluctantly, and continued down the street with her grandmother.

Not every open door is meant for you to go through.

I truly believe that most people want to be near to God, and want to hear from Him. 
In our eagerness we pray and ask God for guidance in an area. 
Then comes the challenge….when you hear something, how do you know it’s God?

Discernment can be one of the most difficult areas to develop in our walk with God.

Some are like that little girl.  You may be praying for a certain job, for marriage, for your children, etc. And, as soon as an opportunity that somewhat closely resembles what you want shows up, you jump on it and run towards that door.  Others are…well….like that little girl.  You are praying and God tries to pull you in a certain direction, yet you keep praying….and He tries to give you guidance….and you keep praying.  Because His answer isn’t packaged the way you thought it would be, you keep praying.   

I’ve been there. 

I really wish there was a radio frequency God could give us. (Tune into JC-FM 101.7 The Voice).  Or, we had some secret handshake before He gave instruction, so that I could be sure that it’s Him.  Unfortunately there isn’t any magic decoder ring, but there are some things that a loving believer with a slight hearing impairment can ask to help evaluate their voice from God’s? 

Is what I’m hearing consistent with God’s character? 
God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.  So, while we may be wishy-washy and change our mind with the wind, God does not.  If someone told you that they saw me at a bar cursing like a sailor and torturing baby hamsters, you’d question it. Why? Well, first, it would be weird for baby hamsters to be at a bar, but beyond that, those actions are not consistent with what you know about me.  How do you know that? Because when you have spent time with someone, you get to know them better.  You know how they behave.  You know the things they say and don’t say.  So, in order to discern the voice of God we have to know more about His character.  You have His personality profile.  It’s called the Bible. Read it and read it often.

Is what I’m hearing going to challenge me in a way I’m not comfortable with?
I jokingly told someone the other day that, “I usually know when it’s the Holy Spirit telling me to do something because I don’t want to do it.” Although I said it in jest, there’s some truth in that.  When decisions align with God’s will, they don’t align with our flesh and, consequently, they’re usually not the response from God we want to hear.  This is usually what starts the prayer cycle (prayer insanity): we pray, God speaks a word, we don’t like the answer so we pretend like we didn’t hear it, and pray again, He gives the same answer and we continue to pray and then blame Him because “He’s not saying anything”. But you know what? God isn’t going to change His mind.  You know why? (Hint: Read paragraph above).  Usually the places He’s taking us are uncomfortable, but isn’t His glory worth more than your comfort?

Is what I’m hearing going to draw me closer or further away from God? 
I remember being offered a position as a college student.  My old job had downsized so I was really eager to find another position.  The one catch was that the hours they wanted to slot me for basically conflicted with every available service time at my church.  I prayed and decided that anything that would cut me off from my church community and disrupt the observation of my faith was not a door God had opened for me.  That’s just an example, but as we examine opportunities, relationships, jobs, that seem “good” or even great, we must step back and ask, “is it good or is it God?”  And, even further than that how will use this to draw me nearer to Him?

Are you ready for your hearing test?

I don’t have one prepared for you, but life will….today….tomorrow….and the next day.

The sooner we tune into God, the better

Let’s pray:  Father, as we quiet the noise that surrounds us in our lives, help us to discern Your voice. Let it ring out louder and more clearly than all the other voices in our lives.  Give us discernment to know when the words that are spoken into our lives are from you, from the devil, or from ourselves.  Thank you Holy Spirit for Your wisdom and guidance to walk the paths directed with courage and confidence.  I come against any excuses, fear, or unbelief that may cause me to drift away from Your voice.  Where You lead, I go.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Now listening to: I Will Follow, Chris Tomlin

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