John 7:17 “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”
Sometimes attitude is everything. Those who choose (or desire) to do God’s will recognize fairly easily what He is saying to them, but those who have their hearts set on going their own way are “as deaf as a stump,” to use an old colloquial phrase. As Jesus said right after this in verse 19, no one is perfectly obedient to God. However, if our honest desire is to obey Him, He will help us in that, speaking to us in a wide variety of ways to guide and encourage us as we need it. Not long ago a public figure in the US was derided by some for saying they had heard something from God. The attitude was that even if you were so foolish as to believe in God, it was delusional to the point of mental illness to think He talks to you. Such an attitude will indeed make you as deaf as a stump! From Genesis through Revelation the Bible tells us that God speaks to us and He desires that we listen, for our own good. The ways He uses range from a burning bush (Exodus 3) to a donkey (Numbers 22) to a still, small voice, (1 Kings 19) so we’d better be listening!
I couldn’t count how many times I’ve had people tell me they wanted to receive God’s guidance, when actually they already knew what He wanted them to do but didn’t want to do it. It can even be amusing sometimes that they don’t realize how obvious the situation is. It all boils down to attitude, a humble recognition that God knows far better than we do what is best for us, and faith that He desires the very best. If that is our attitude, we will recognize what He is saying to us. Joy Dawson taught that we need to “die” to the issue at hand. That is, a dead person has no preferences, and we need to release whatever the issue is completely to God. That’s not always easy, as I know full well from my own experience. We can want something so strongly that we can’t grasp, much less accept, that God might have something even better for us. As a pastor I often counsel others, but I’ve got to be submitted to God myself or my counseling will miss the mark. I regularly speak the Word, from the pulpit and otherwise, but if I’m not listening to it as God speaking to me, I stray from the path and lose the benefit for myself. I desire that every believer in this church have a vital, growing, intimate relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord, but if my focus is on their “performance,” I will lose the vitality of my own relationship with Him.
Father, thank You for speaking to us so faithfully. Help me, help each of us, hear You clearly and follow You fully, so that Your perfect will may be done in and through us, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!