my search to understand the bigger picture

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Conversational Intimacy

this is one of those topics that is just very hard to describe.  how does one explain that they heard from God?  that God spoke to them?  most of us throw in some things about it not really being an audible voice, but more of a prompting in our hearts.  it just gets real dicey real fast.

so, i'm not trying to solve any riddles today.  not trying to lay down the a,b,c's of developing this type of relationship with the father.  i just want to attempt to propose a few thoughts, examples from my own life and then let you formulate your own theory from there.

jesus clearly says in john 10:27 "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."  now, if it were not possible at all to have any sort of back and forth communication with the Father, i don't believe Jesus would have made this statement.  whether it's metaphorical in this situation or not is irrelevant in my opinion.  

now, how does one get to know the voice of another?  how do i learn to recognize the voice of my wife, my kids, etc?  simple.  by spending lots of time in their presence, actively involved in the moment.  i only learn to recognize my wife's voice by being with her.  so, the way to recognizing the voice of the Father is by spending time with him, reading the Bible, in prayer, just hanging out while being conscious of his presence with you.  

we have many recorded instances of Jesus speaking with the Father in the New Testament.  one passage in particular is John 17, where Jesus prays for his disciples and then believers as a whole.  now, why would this situation be recorded, Jesus speaking to God the Father, if that were not to be something we should be doing?  what about the Lord's Prayer, where Jesus specifically directs us to "pray" a certain way?  or there's that little scene in the garden of gethsemane where Jesus pours his heart out to the Father.  are we not to follow his example?

i fully believe most people don't "hear" from God because they have not made room in their lives for it.  at least, that's been true in my own life.  we love packing our lives full of "stuff" to be doing.  we've gotten really good at doing "christian" things without taking the time to "be" with jesus.  that's got to change if you want to begin to hear from him.  luke 5:16 fills us in to a few keys when it comes to conversing with God.  "But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer."  three keys, that i've shared before:

  1. Jesus withdrew often.  He made time with the Father a priority, and had this time on a regular basis.
  2. Jesus went to the wilderness.  He went to a place where distractions were severely limited.  No people.  No cell phone.  No internet.  Nothing to do but "be" with the Father.
  3. Jesus went for prayer.  He went with a purpose, to speak with the Father.  
many times we forget that there's two parts to conversations.  there's the part where we speak (we've got that down) and there's the part where we listen.  typically, we are not very good at sitting still and quiet for very long to listen.  friends, if you want to hear from God, this has to change.   i believe first and foremost we will learn to recognize God's voice by getting familiar with his words in the Bible.  Begin reading your Bible, and God's voice will begin sounding off all around you, if you are paying attention and looking for it.

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