Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Learning to Listen...and Obey
…Jesus…said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have…and come, follow Me." But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. —Luke 18:22-23
Today's devotional, my friends is amazing. I'm thinking, what could I possibly add to that? It seems as though Chambers says it perfectly...and clearly. I can relate to it and can think of specific examples in my own life. Times when I heard Him speak to me and I didn't like what I heard. Just like the young ruler, I went away sorrowful.
Here are some gems from today's devotional.
Jesus says a tremendous amount to us that we listen to, but do not actually hear.
Our Lord never pleaded with him; He never tried to lure him— He simply spoke the strictest words that human ears have ever heard, and then left him alone.
Jesus did not go after him, but let him go. Our Lord knows perfectly well that once His word is truly heard, it will bear fruit sooner or later. What is so terrible is that some of us prevent His words from bearing fruit in our present life.
I can think of a couple of very specific times when the Lord spoke to me clearly. I didn't like what I heard Him say. I wanted what I wanted. I didn't want to do things the Lord's way...I wanted things my way instead. I made excuses for the words I heard. I told myself it was my imagination. Both times when I heard the Lord speak to me it caught me off guard and I said, "What?!? Was that you, Lord? What did you say?" I wanted more clarification. I wanted to hear it in a more comfortable way. Both times, my startled reactions were met with silence. God never has to repeat Himself. He makes Himself very clear the first time. We don't always have to understand why or how...just believe and obey.
The first time He spoke to me directly, I really didn't like it...and went and did my own thing. I did what I wanted instead. I have looked back in repentance, sorrow and regret. I paid the price for not listening, believing, or obeying. I still pay the price in sorrow and loss, just as He predicted I would. But the last line of Chambers' devotional struck me. Here it is:
One thing is certain— He will never throw our past failures back in our faces.
It is not the Lord that throws that failure into my face, but it is I. I throw my own failures back into my own face and I need to stop this! By doing this, I have not accepted the Lord's forgiveness, grace, and mercy. He's over it. He has moved on. I'm the one who is stuck with not forgiving myself.
The second specific time that I am thinking of was a time when the Lord's words brought me sorrow. I didn't want to accept them as truth. In fact, I protested and argued. I didn't believe. I didn't think I could bear what he told me would come true. For a long time it was a source of sorrow and I asked, "Why, Lord?" But slowly over time His words brought me comfort and I saw them as loving protection. They have also brought me assurance that what He says stands firm. I can firmly rest on what He tells me is so.
I am ever so grateful that He didn't just give up on me or zap me when I chose rebellion, whining, and disbelief. He is so patient. His words eventually bore fruit.
Photo by me: Adirondack Mountains.