But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25 NIV
Have you ever wondered if God speaks to people today? Have you ever asked how you can know when He is speaking? God speaks to individuals in unique ways and He does this in any way He pleases. He speaks to reveal Himself and to teach us His ways.
As Believers, we have the Holy Spirit living in us. We cannot understand spiritual truth unless the Spirit reveals it to us (John 14:17). I have discovered that the majority of time the Spirit speaks to us through God's Word. Have you ever been reading the Bible when suddenly a verse jumps off the page at you, even though you have read that verse many times before? This is God speaking to you through His Word. There is nothing more exciting than realizing that the God of the universe is speaking directly to you!
When God speaks to us through the Bible we need to respond immediately. Our response is crucial. We should never take it lightly or ignore it. When the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us this is an encounter with God. First thing we should do is pray and ask God to make it clear what He wants us to do. We should then take that verse and obey it and continue to pray for clarity.
Here is an example from my own life of the way God used His Word to speak to me. One day I came across a verse that stood out to me. I wrote it down on a 3 x 5 card and posted it on my refrigerator. The verse said, "If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable" (Proverbs 28:9 NIV). At this time I was earnestly trying to develop a better prayer life so when I read that my prayers can be detestable I started asking God to open my eyes to how I was breaking the law.
A few days later I started receiving bounced check statements from our bank. Everyday, for about a week, they were in our mailbox. I didn't understand this until God brought to my memory all the times I was writing checks without knowing our account balance. My husband said to me that week, "Writing checking without money in the bank is breaking the law." Although I already knew that, it wasn't until that moment I realized how careless I was being with our money. God was confirming to me, through my husband's words, how that verse applied to me. It took a while to get our banking situation in order again. Thankfully, there were no serious consequences. This was a lesson I won't forget. I see now how God gave me that verse ahead of time to prepare me for what was about to happen.
It is not enough just to agree with God's Word, we need to respond to it. That's where obedience comes in. I no longer write bad checks and now I'm careful to know how much money I have to spend.
We may need to adjust our lives to what God teaches us or make necessary amends. He doesn't want anything to hinder our relationship with Him. Obeying what God teaches us makes us free to experience a closer walk with Him. After all, isn't that what it's all about?
For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Lord, thank You for Your Word and how You speak to me through it. Please give me the desire to respond to anything you want to teach me and to obey what You say. Please continue to speak to me through the Bible. In Jesus' name. Amen.
April 21, 2008