Daniel Fast Day 19

Who Are You Listening To? - Part 2

“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” Colossians 2:8-10(NLT)

There is foolishness that seems like wisdom and then there is wisdom that appears to be foolish. The foolishness that appears like wisdom is always rooted in either arrogance or ignorance. Arrogance, because it looks down on the so-called ignorant people and refuses to acknowledge its own deep-rooted bias. At the core of this kind of wisdom is always a self-indulgent desire. Not simply a desire, but an aggressive insistence of “no one will tell me what to do. I call the shots in my life.” An unwillingness to yield is a telltale sign of this kind of wisdom. It also has an aspect of ignorance, yet will not confess to it, because it stands on the shoulders of the idea that “only my information is unbiased”! 

We could be caught in this quagmire, vacillating between the ideas of listening only to self, listening to others, or listening to the Source of all wisdom. The quandary (there really should not be one whatsoever) is, who possesses the wisdom we need? If in Christ Jesus, all the fullness of the Godhead dwells, then it is only in Him that anyone will be able to find the wisdom that is needed. The beginning of Christ’s wisdom is greater and wiser than all others combined. The world is littered with information, both useful and useless. Information in and of itself is neither good nor bad. Deciding between what information is useful and what information could be detrimental, is the key. Paul writes and says; “We are complete through our union with Christ.” Our union with Christ is the reason we are able to discern the difference between human thinking and Godly thinking. Because Christ is the Head over all rulers and all authorities, there is no higher wisdom, knowledge, or revelation than Christ Jesus. So lasting wisdom for life can only come from the Giver of all life. Jesus is the Head of the Body, so in essence He is the brains of this operation. You can lose an arm or a leg and still live, but you cannot live without your head. In the same way, we cannot walk in wisdom and discernment without Christ Jesus.

Too many of us underestimate the constant nourishment we need from God’s Word. Neglecting the Word of God as a Christ follower is done at our own peril. Some of us want to hear God’s audible voice when we have not made His written Word a priority. We are encouraged by the Proverb writer to give thought to God’s Word. “Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.” Proverbs 16:20-22 (ESV) Giving thought or attention to the Word of God enables us to discover that which is good. Good can only be discovered in our acknowledgment of God. Without God, there is no goodness because only God is good. “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” Luke 18:19 (NIV) Jesus is not denying His deity, He is responding to a question that affirms His goodness. If only God is good and Jesus is recognized for His goodness, then the obvious conclusion is Jesus is God. “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” Colossians 2:9 (NLT) Outside of the knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus, goodness cannot be discovered or even known. To know God is to know what is good. Knowing what is good then, obviously, helps us to discern what is not good.

If we are the product of a random cosmic accident and life in the universe is only there because of chance, then there is absolutely nothing to measure good or bad with. If we leave it up to man to determine what is good or bad, it will always spiral downward. Our refusal to acknowledge God is nothing new. Paul writing to the church in Rome says, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.” Romans 1:20-22 (NLT) Creation itself testifies about the Creator. God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power, and divine nature are revealed through creation. God is not part of creation in the same way a sculptor is not part of his sculpture. He is apart from it but can be seen through it. The mind and creativity of the sculptor can be seen through what is being made. Seeing a sculpture and denying the sculptor is plain foolishness. No sculpture appears out of nothing. Someone thought about it and then created it. Seeing creation and denying the Creator His due leaves us with nothing but foolish ideas, darkened minds, and confused ideologies.

These darkened minds and confused philosophies are driving the culture in which we live. We see the results of this kind of thinking and belief system all around us. To refuse to worship the One who created us leads to confusion and creates a thankless existence. If we are truly honest about this kind of belief system, we would acknowledge that without God, not only is there no good, but there is also no purpose to life. If survival is the only reason to squeeze meaning out of a random universe, then nothing we say or do have any real value. Then, we can lie, steal, cheat, and murder just as long as enough of us survive to perpetuate the species. Only God truly gives meaning to life! Therefore, we must hear from God. We must obey His instructions and we must pay attention to His Word. That leads to the wisdom we need and the discernment that is required. Human wisdom cannot impart spiritual revelation. Spiritual truth only comes from the Spirit of God. “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”  1 Corinthians 2:13-14 (ESV)

That makes who and what we are listening to of utmost importance. Are you listening more to yourself, others, or are you tuned in to hear what the Holy Spirit has to say? There are a whole lot of voices, there are millions of opinions, but in the end, only God’s voice leads to life. We must yearn to hear God’s voice. “You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.”  Psalm 73:24-25 (NLT) Godly counsel leads to glorious destinies. It is not possible to be rooted in Christ without desiring to hear His voice. If we are His sheep then we will know His voice and we will obey His voice. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 (NLT) Hearing God’s voice is not a convenience thing; it is an absolute necessity thing. We must learn to hear God’s voice through all of the clamoring and noise of this world. 

To know God’s voice is to know God’s Word. The foundation of hearing from God must always be based on the written Word of God. We must become skilled in our knowledge of the Word and zealous in our application of the truth of God’s Word. It does not mean we become pharisaical in our approach, but it does mean we stick with the truth of the Word regardless of the consequences. Maturity comes when we hear what God has to say and we willingly apply it to all arenas of our lives. To be skilled in the Word is a sign of maturity and only mature Christ followers develop what is critically needed discernment. “For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:13-14 (ESV)

We don’t have to fumble around in confusion and live our lives without discernment. We don’t have to wonder what is good and what is not, or what is wrong and what is right. We can open up our spiritual hearing. We can feed on God’s Word. We can make hearing from God a priority. We can pay attention to His leading. It will give us clarity and direction. There is nothing we lack because in Jesus the fullness of God dwells. We can remind ourselves daily that Christ is the Head, we are the Body and we are complete in Him.

So, open your heart, listen for His voice and apply His Word. The destiny will be glorious! 

Prayer and Reflection:
  • Hearing from God starts with a desire to hear. How much do you desire to hear God’s voice?
  • What can you do to help create a greater appetite for God’s Word? Have you asked the Holy Spirit to increase your appetite for God’s Word?
  • The foundation of hearing from God must always be based on the written Word of God. What is the danger of making hearing from God too mystical? How can we help one another to avoid these pitfalls?
  • What area in your life is in need of greater discernment? Have you searched the Word of God to find out what God’s Word says about these areas? If you say yes, have you written them down, and are you meditating on these verses?

Father, thank You that You desire to speak to me. Thank You that I am a part of Your flock and that You are the Good Shepherd. Give me a discerning heart and mind, so that I may know Your voice. Open up my ears so that I may hear from You. Train me in Your ways so that I may walk with You. Create in me a thirst that I would desire to seek You. Forgive me whenever I have neglected Your Word and shunned Your voice.

Lord, I want to pray what young Samuel prayed: “Speak, your servant is listening.”  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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