Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 21: Who Said What?

Jen Final

"The Gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and they come to him.  He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.  They won't follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don't know his voice."  John 10: 3-5
At first, I was going to write about how I really struggle with this verse.  I was going to say that Jesus makes it all sound so easy to hear Him and to know that it is Him who is speaking to our hearts.  I was going to say that it is hard to hear Him over the din of the world and ourselves and those who oppose us.  The truth is that it can be, but God brought these stories to my mind to show me that I can guard against "mis-hearing" if I use the tools He has given me.

{1}  I was in college.  At the time, I was attending a non-denominational church where they would frequently allow people who had something to share to come up to the front to speak.  I had listened to the sermon and I had a great biblical and personal tie-in.  I just knew that I was supposed stand up and speak out words of truth to the congregation.  I stood up, asking to go to the front only to be turned away by the elder, saying that we simply didn't have enough time.  Of course, I was crushed.  Why would he not allow me to speak?  We hadn't really been all about ending on time before.  Were the words in my heart wrong?  And then, as I sat there, cheeks flaming red, I knew that my motives were not pure.  Sure, my message was biblical and true and heartfelt, but after further reflection, there was a motive that was not pure.  There was a boy in the congregation and, you know, I wanted him to notice how great I was.  I wanted him to see that I could hear the Lord and speak out His message.  My heart was about me, not about God.  I was in it for my glory, not His.  Had I examined my heart before I stood to speak the message, I would have stayed in my chair.  It was not God calling me to speak, but my own pride and need for acclamation.  What I took away from this experience, after many tears, was that I must check my motives before I act.  If I am operating in pure selfishness, even if there are possible favorable byproducts, it probably isn't' God.

{2}  In a few days, my friend is taking a trip.  She has some health problems and I was worried about her health and her being alone on this trip.  As I laid in bed that night, I thought of all the very logical reasons as to why she shouldn't go alone.  At first, I felt certain that God was prompting me to say something.  But then, in my gut, I felt all the fear that was motivating me to pursue all these logical thoughts, even though I know that God is bigger than my friend's health.  He's bigger than logic.  He's bigger than fear.  So, I asked Him to either confirm that I should speak out the logical reasons or if I should trust that God will provide during this time.  He gave me two scriptures, which I cannot remember now, that totally confirmed that He's on the job, that He would like me to engage in prayer for her while she's away, and that I could put my fear to rest.

{3}  I'm skipping the last story because frankly, you've probably heard it before here at Finding Heaven, and if not, the gist is this:  Impatience.  Because this girl wants answers and she wants them quick.  And so, I often forge ahead without waiting for any sort of confirmation at all.

Let's be real:  Even with tools, it can still be hard.  Sometimes we are wrong, but the hope is the fact that God knows we are going to make mistakes.  We are never going to get it right 100% of the time, no matter how hard we try.  And because of that, He promises to bring redemption, and grace, and a love that covers a multitude of mistakes.  Praise God for that!

Challenge:  Do you have something that continually gets in the way of hearing God?  I've listed pride, fear, and impatience.  Do you have something you can add to this list?

Fun news!  Tomorrow, we are going to start a new phase of this series. I haven't figured out all the details yet, but please come back and check it out!  Meanwhile...



Don't forget about these amazing authors of other "31 Days Closer to..." series:

5 comments :

  1. My favorite one yet. That's saying something because God has spoken through you daily with this challenge.

    I loved the first part and have experienced it myself. There's a depth of teaching in the passage "A time to speak and a time to hold your silence".

    Excellent, Jen. Thanks.

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  2. Can I say again how much I love your heart and your honesty? Really good words today, and so true.
    Blessings!

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  3. I love the truth about wanting to share because it will serve our own pride. Great post.

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  4. What amazes me Jen, about your words is how Our Lord is using you to speak to all of us.

    Thank you for letting Him use you as His vessel!

    Mrs. M.

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  5. I think in many areas of life we need to examine our motives...at least I do.
    And that is often one of my guides as I "market" myself as a speaker.
    I examine my motives regarding marketing tools and I've talked with my pastor about it. He gave me some great advice on the subject.
    I also must remember that sometimes the devil work work against my own best personality traits so that I actually OVER analyze things.

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