The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. (Ps. 24:1)
We have heard it before and re-visit the theme again to help us re-gain and/or retain our focus: the world is the Lord’s and everything in it. Everything we have is His. It comes from Him and is going back to Him. Our finances are not ours. They are merely provided for us to steward – not in the way we decide is best, but according to what He says is His will. Not even our time is our own. It also belongs to God. It is He who numbers our days and has known the fullness of them before we were ever born.
When we became Christians we received the gift of adoption by the Father and citizenship in His Kingdom for eternity. We gave up our right to our own life, our way and realized that we never were really in control at all, choosing instead to embrace God’s plan. We committed our lives to following Jesus in exchange for His gift.
Sometimes we forget that we were bought at a price and are no longer our own! We are God’s for Him to do with as He sees fit! Since everything we are and have is His, our responsibility is not to come up with our own good ideas, but to discern and implement His.
How do we know what He wants us to do? We listen for His voice. We actively become His sheep and let the Shepherd lead. We do what we believe He is asking regardless of any potential (feared) personal cost or sacrifice. We do this not just by reading His Word and following the concept of His precepts, but by His Spirit who is speaking to us constantly His will for the moment in all things, which is in perfect alignment with His Word (for as Truth, He cannot contradict Himself).
Pre-requisite to the ability to follow Jesus not just in concept, but in daily, minute-by-minute, itemized detail is the belief that He speaks to us in a way that can be heard, so we can listen for and follow His instructions. The second pre-requisite is a mindset which seeks to hear what He is saying.
It sounds so easy to have the mindset of listening for God. And it is! Yet, in reality sometimes we aren’t sure we want to hear what He has to say. We are afraid. What if He asks us to do something we don’t want to do?
Therefore, the listening mindset is not always easy, but always essential. It assumes a choice to trust in God, which is founded on a belief that He is who He says and will do as He promises. In other words, we trust whatever He wants from us will be right and for the greater good.
Once we have committed ourselves to listen, we must train to recognize His voice. Sometimes it comes as a whisper. Often it comes like a seemingly random (but definitely specific) thought. The thoughts can come when we are reading His Word or when we are worshipping, in the shower or on a walk. Sometimes His voice is like thunder. Less frequently His voice might be audible. He can speak through others near us (who may or may not be aware He is speaking to us through them). Or He may communicate with us through what He shows us in His creation. God relates one thing to another in new and revelatory ways. The Lord is infinite and threfore infinitely creative. We can expect His ways of communicating will not be confined to a few and may vary widely.
Common to every way we hear from God is that He will never ask us to do anything which is contrary to His Word (for He cannot contradict His character). What He speaks to us will be accompannied by His peace, especially when that which He tells us to do doesn’t seem to make sense at that moment. (Remember, so long as what He is asking doesn’t contradict His Word, it often will not make complete sense for His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. As high as the heavens are above the earth, that’s how much higher and better His thoughts are above ours. If everything He said made sense, then His thoughts would be no greater than ours. But He is God!
Listening for God’s voice must be practiced. The increasing ability to hear from Him corresponds with our heart-felt desire to hear more and seeking to have Him teach us how. If we seek, He will give us the answer. It’s His promise (and He cannot lie).
God is not angry if we “mis”-hear Him. He knows we are children who cannot comprehend fully everything He says with perfect accuracy, just as human parents know especially their young children will not be able to fully comprehend everything we are telling them. For God it is now and always has been about the heart. Did we want to hear Him accurately? Were we seeking to understand and follow? (Or were we purposely ignoring Him, willfully disobeying, or intent on rebelliousness?)
Jesus tells us only if we become as children will we inherit the Kingdom of God. Just as the human parent of a toddler, child-proofs all doors behind which danger lurks for the child, before sending the child forth, God “child-proofs” doors which we may try to open after we think we have heard Him. He loves us more than any human parent can love their children. If our hearts are right and we are seeking to obey, He will not punish us for not understanding completely, but grab us by the hand and gently, firmly lead us in His proper direction.
When we choose to listen for God’s voice and follow we are blessed on a multitude of levels. First, we are in the will of God. There is no better place to live! Secondly, He begins to use us in ways to reveal the reality of Who He is to those around us. In other words, suddenly we find that His supernatural is regularly invading our natural in a way others cannot help but notice. This is not for our sake, but for His and theirs – that they might recognize Him as Savior and Lord, and choose Him for eternity. The unexpected miraculous in large and small begins to manifest where He has asked us to be (and we have obediently followed). There is wonder in the eyes of those aorund us and joy bursting through our hearts as we recognize He is using us when we obey His voice to be His true representatives (ambassadors) to the world. Life is sweet. Life is good. Even when life is bad, we can see and sense He is good.
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! All praise to You, Lord God, that we do not have to figure out how to properly steward all this that You have given us. Praise be to You, Lord God, for You have always had the perfect plan. Praise be to You, Spirit of the Living God. You lead us in the way we should go and we, for our part, commit to follow. Use us for Your glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Selah! [Pause, and calmly think of that!]
Please consider giving the gift of CHRISTMAS WORSHIP this Christmas. Christmas is coming. A few years ago, the Lord whispered to my heart that He wanted to be worshipped at Christmas and He showed me how many of the songs we sing beautifully tell the story of His birth and why He came, but very few actually worship Him during this festive season. As a result in December 2009 I was in the studio beginning to record CHRISTMAS WORSHIP, which includes 7 new, original Christmas worship songs, which the Lord had me compose specifically for this project. It can be purchased at www.holyspiritpress.org or amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Worship-Elizabeth-Fulgaro/dp/B004D9931G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1320069144&sr=8-2 or itunes or CDbaby.com http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/elizabethfulgaro3. Music clips can be heard at the CD Baby or amazon.com links. May God receive the honor and worship He is due this Christmas season.
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.