|Posted on June 14, 2018 at 12:45 AM|
Does God talk to you? Be careful how you answer that question. Politicians especially can get themselves into real trouble if they say yes. But they are not alone. In the secular world we live in today the idea that God exists is somewhat controversial never mind the fact that he might actually communicates with people. The more “enlightened” members of our society who pride themselves as being “educated” generally scoff at the notion that a personal God exists much less that he speaks to individuals. Decisions based on personal communication with God are viewed with a high degree of skepticism at best and usually deemed insane. After all, some of the most outrageous statements and bizarre actions have been explained by, “God told me to say or do it”.
Modern critics notwithstanding I believe God communicates with us today. I don’t just think it is “possible” to communicate with God, but that it is essential for a healthy and functional life. The problems we face in our everyday lives demand the personal leadership and direction from God. Listening for the voice of God is not a sign of insanity as some believe. Real insanity is ignoring divine leadership and the assurance and confidence it offers all who will trust it. As the AA program puts it insanity is, “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result”. Trying to live a healthy life without the leadership and power of the Creator will drive us crazy and never ends well.
By communicating with God, I am not simply referring to simply talking to God in what some people mistakenly refer to as prayer. Real communication is a two-way street in which God talks to us at least as much as we talk to him. Talking to God is fairly obvious and straight forward but listening to God is where our communication with him tends to break down. Being assured by the written word of God that God is continually leading all his children through his indwelling Spirit (Romans 8: 14), the breakdown in communication is in our failure to listen. The reasons for that are many but they generally have to do with what Paul calls the “spirit of bondage again to fear” in the next verse of that chapter.
The “spirit of bondage” is the attitude of forced compliance by threat of punishment. “You better behave or else!” is the threat behind the fear or sense of dread people naturally have of listening to God. Their erroneous image of God is the Old Covenant righteous Judge rather than the New Covenant loving Father revealed by the living Word, Jesus. Failing to understand the gospel of their new identity in Christ, they still harbor the guilt and insecurity of failing to keep the law. Identifying themselves naturally as the old person they have always thought they were, they expect God to condemn them and punish them for their failures and are afraid to hear what he has to say to them. In contrast to this “spirit of bondage again to fear” Paul tells us we are given the “spirit of adoption” and can relate to God as our Father rather than our judge.
The “spirit of adoption” is the earnest desire on the part of the Father to communicate with his adopted child through a loving and meaningful relationship. What is communicated by the Father is not his expectations for the child but rather his provisions for the child. What our heavenly Father wants to communicate to us is all that he has, is, and will do for us as his adopted children. More than anything else, God wants to tell us personally how much he loves us.