Purpose of Guarding the Treasure

The purpose of this blog is to encourage readers to invest their time into the Word of God and "Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." Paul wrote these words to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:14) in his presumed last letter before his execution. May we be those who see the word of God as a treasure, guarding it with our lives, investing in it with our hearts and minds, and reaping the fruit of an abundant life while getting to know the God who loves us and created us for His marvelous pleasure and glory.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hearing God?

The Christian faith is about a relationship with God. Jesus made that relationship possible by His sacrificial death and resurrection. All who simply believe in Jesus Christ for salvation receive the gift of eternal life which includes the privilege of being a child of God and having an eternal relationship with God.

In any healthy relationship, there must be healthy communication which means not only speaking but also listening. As Christians, our responsibility is to fellowship with God and live through the power of the Holy Spirit, crucifying our old self and putting on the new self made in the image of Christ. God has blessed us with the Bible and prayer as two primary means of hearing from Him and speaking to Him. As we spend time with God, we learn from Him and begin to take on His character. We begin to discern truth from falsehood as well as discerning His will for our lives. The Bible compares people to sheep, sheep who are led around by a shepherd. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers." (John 10:1-5, emphasis added) As Christians, Jesus is our Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:14-15). We must get to know Him and listen to His voice so that we discern it from the voices of strangers.

Let me be clear that I have never heard an audible voice from God, but others have in Scripture, so I don’t want to dismiss the possibility. But God is speaking to us today in many forms and in many ways. Definitely He speaks to us through the Bible as well as through the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit. God may speak to us through a friend and even His creation can speak to us. The voice of God is spoken to our heart and often penetrates to the very core of our being. He comforts, He convicts, He instructs, He gives us the blessings of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The list goes on and on, but these things manifest themselves in the midst of a healthy productive relationship with God.

Throughout the events of life, we must remember that God is working in our lives. Often we encounter circumstances in life and say that we are lucky or if the circumstance is bad, we might say we’ve had some bad luck. But from the Christian worldview, there is no such thing as luck or fate or chance or coincidence. Every circumstance we face in life is for a reason and God is still working and accomplishing His will even in the midst of our choices whether they are right or wrong. Tough times are an opportunity to draw nearer to God and trust Him more. Times of plenty are opportunities to praise God and thank Him for His blessings. Our responsibility is to see God working in our lives and acknowledge His continual presence with us (Proverbs 3:5-6).

So how do we discern if something is of God? Here are some things we can do. We can ask God to give us spiritual eyes to know the truth, we can pray for wisdom and discernment (James 1:5), we can look to the Bible for truth (John 17:17), we can seek the council of godly men and women, and we must confess our sins and make sure we are not being blinded by our own selfish desires and sin (1 John 1:6-9, James 4:3). As you can see, these are all things that flow out of a healthy relationship with God. May we be like Samuel saying, "Speak, for Thy servant is listening." (1 Samuel 3:10b).