March 8, 2015

Hearing God and Abiding in Christ

Numbers 7:48–89
John 15:1–16:4
Psalm 9:1–7

When movies or television shows depict God speaking to someone, the person is either unusually pious or a raving lunatic. Script writers must think hearing God speak is impossible. However, “When Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him.” (Numbers 7:89)

This hints at an audible voice, but it may not have been. When God speaks to me, it isn’t audible, but I know I am hearing God. One time I was outside beginning my prayer walk and complaining (how silly) to God that I had so much work to do that day. I said that I was not in the mood for walking or prayer. Clearly God said back to me, “Prayer is your work.”

Most of the time though, God’s words are the clearest when I’m reading from His Word. These verses challenge and bless me today:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing . . . . If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full . . . . You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” (John 15:5, 7-11, 16–17)

Obviously a grape branch withers and dies when disconnected from the vine. The vine is the source of life for the branch, and apart from the vine, no grapes, and certainly no glory to God. As I read these lines again, I’m blessed. Abiding is Christ is a blessing. It means having a rich life that is useful, a life that proves I am a Christian. I am deeply aware of the love of God and full of joy. I know that He picked me — how amazing is that — and that He picked me to have lasting results from the work He gives me to do. This passage also offers assurance of answered prayer, and repeats a vital command to Christians, that we love one another.

I join with the psalmist saying, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9:1–2)

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