“How come God speaks to you”? “I never hear him” or if I do, I don’t know it”. asked Sarah, (not her real name). In the course of our conversation I admitted I was not hearing His voice as much as I used too. “Why?” she inquired. Taking a moment to ponder my answer, I admitted, “More than likely, because I’m not reading my Bible. Wow, that stung! My lack of energy and letting other things take precedence being key distractions. One thing I know for certain it takes discipline to read my Bible every day; desire isn’t enough. I wish they made a discipline pill”. “My life would be so much better.” I told her. I love my time with the Lord. I crave that time, and yet as my conversation reveals it’s lacking. I need to quiet the world around me, hush the clamor of voices and other things vying for my attention, and muster up some gumption.
My friends, if you desire to hear from God then you too need to make Him a priority in your day. You need to spend time in the Bible reading with expectation. God speaks to us mortals most often through His Word. (In future blogs I will share other ways God speaks).
Devotionals are great additions to a Christian’s library, but, they possibly are one hindrance to hearing God. A devotional book is a series of short writings by an author or several authors, with a verse or more, extracted from the Bible. Devotionals are designed to give the reader food for thought; encourage and spur them on to better Christian living. The verses included in the short writings usually connect to the author’s thought for that day. Some fabulous devotionals exist in the marketplace; each designed to get us thinking about spiritual things. It’s important to remember, no matter how excellent the devotional, it’s not the Word of God. The danger comes when we substitute the Word of God for a quick 5 minute read in a devotional book and pop-off a short prayer believing we’ve spent time with the Lord. Think about that for a minute. If we treated our marriage or significant relationships in such a manner, we wouldn’t be hearing much from them, would we? Over time the relationship would dissolve. Folk’s, if this is your daily routine you’re short changing your relationship with the Creator of the universe.
Hazel, (not her real name) shared, “I love it when they print out the whole verse and not just the reference”. “I don’t even need to open my Bible.” This is dangerous for one’s walk with Jesus on several levels. Would you know if the authors printing Scripture inaccurately, or sharing half-truths? If you don’t check what the author says against the word of God, of course not. Don’t take another’s word for what the Bible says, check it out for yourself. Sadly, not only are we taking another’s word for truth, but we’re allowing them to speak to our hearts rather than allowing the very heart of God to speak, to comfort, to give guidance and wisdom for our circumstances.
God warns against Idols in our lives. Idols are books, things, people, activities, other gods, etc., which are given worth or value and prominence over God by our actions. When we spend more time reading “Jesus Calling”, “Our Daily Bread”, ”His Utmost for my Highest” or any devotional over God’s Word, we’ve made our devotional book an Idol. Did my last statement sting a little? We didn’t start out to sidestep God. Never our intention, yet, it’s what’s become the norm for many. Our confidence in knowing what’s on the heart of our Lord, lays in His Word!
God provided us with his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the very nature of God to guide us into understanding what we read, and who speaks to our hearts and minds. He longs to be the voice we’re attentive to. He desires to teach every believer all there is to know. He desires to speak, to guide and direct our path each day.
Please don’t miss this, I’m not saying never read a devotional. I own several. I love to read them. There are some super-dooper ones written by solid Christian authors. Jesus Calling is one of my fav’s. It spurs my thinking and sometimes, through Sarah’s writing, Holy Spirit provides confirmation (more about this in a future post). I only read a devotional after I’ve spent time hearing directly from God, through the Bible.
Quality time with The One who gave us life, who knows us forwards and backwards, inside and out, is the starting place for hearing His voice. If you desire to hear the God of the universe speak to you, it starts with reading His Word.
More to come,
“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Devotionals I enjoy:
“Hugs” by Criswell Freeman
“Jesus Calling”, by Sarah Young
Laughter for a Woman’s Soul – by Women of Faith
“My Utmost for His Highest”, by Oswald Chambers
There are many more in the marketplace. If you have a favorite, please share it with me and my readers by leaving your recommendations in the comments.