Copyright © 2013 by Joseph Diop
In our previews for today’s post, we asked the scintillating questions, “Do you know how to hear from the living God? Would you like to lay hold on the ‘abundant life?’ Would you like to become a ‘Spirit-filled’ believer? Would you like to be described as a ‘laser-guided missile’ in the hand of God?’ Or, how about learning how to attain to a life where you are classed as one who has become, like Jesus, ‘the word made flesh?’”
Are you fit to hear from the Lord? That is the question? You see, the voice of God is as free as the air we breathe. It comes as freely as the rain. It flows as easily as the waters of the rivers, and is as abundant as the sands of the sea. So, why are the masses of people not experiencing it that fully? Well, because they don’t have the spiritual fitness. They haven’t honed their spiritual faculties to be attuned to him as they might have, if they spent more time at it. A skill that is as rewarding as this, with the promises as great, and a potential payout as huge, does require a little time and effort. Don’t you think? Many physical fitness promotions that you see on TV, promise to help you reach your goal. They show you these great looking bodies, and tell you what its going to take.
One TV infomercial for a popular workout says, “I knew it would produce insane results in 60 days, but I wasn’t sure if anyone was brave enough to try it. Turns out…there are a lot of crazy people out there. Crazy enough to actually enjoy doing the world’s most insanely tough workout. To like the feeling of being drenched in sweat…of going balls-to-the-wall for a full 45 minutes of muscle-searing exercise. Is INSANITY hard? Oh, yeah. It really IS the hardest workout ever put on DVD. It’s totally crazy…but it’s going to get you crazy-good results.”
Oh, I love a man who tells the truth. He describes his workout as “insane,” “world’s most tough workout,” “muscle-searing,” “hard,” “the hardest workput ever put on DVD,” and “crazy.” And he says, “but I wasn’t sure if anyone was brave enough to try it.” Now why would anyone want to get involved with anything so difficult as to be labeled upfront, “INSANITY?” They do if for the insanely fantastic, really amazing, richly rewarding, deeply satisfying, readily apparent RESULTS, of course — results they can show to the world.
Excuse me here, folks, but I’ve always felt that the modern Church has done a grave disservice to the world. We’ve pitched the world’s greatest life, the universe’s greatest God, and the world’s greatest payout (eternal life), as an all too cheap and come-easy affair. We’ve made it sound so easy that God would call it false and deceptive advertising. We’ve reduced the gospel of Jesus Christ down to nonsense that comes across like this: “Come to Jesus, and you can indulge yourself, deny your cross, and follow the dream in your heart.” And, “It’s just a name-it-and-claim-it affair.” We promise almost serendipitous results (as in, to experience good fortune by chance). The way we come across is like, in the words of that old, Hollywood ballad, “Well the first thing you know [you’ll be] a millionaire,,, Kin folk [will say]… Californie is the place you oughta be…[you’ll be loadin’ up your truck…and you’ll move to] Beverly…(Hills that is, swimming pools, movie stars).” (from The Beverly Hillbillies)
But, in reality, that fantastic ability to hear the voice of God is part and parcel of a total long-term, dedicated spiritual workout, spiritual fitness regimen, spiritual diet, and spiritual endurance training that does not come easy. Understand; the voice of God does come freely. But the personal ability to hear it perfectly, so as to be heir to a life that over the long haul, you can describe as the “abundant life,” and the “Spirit-filled life” does NOT come easy. And attaining to a life, where you can be described as a “laser-guided missile in the hand of God” takes some militarily-like training and dedication. And to get to where you can look and feel like another Christ-approved version of “the word made flesh” takes a whole lot of endurance. I ain’t pullin’ no punches or tellin’ no lies. Jesus said, “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:14 NKJV)
Personally, I think that the good old military recruiting slogans are much more apt for the call of the gospel and the Christian life. “Be all that you can be.” “It’s not a life. It’s an adventure.” And the Marine Corps flat got it right. Here are a few slogans I gleaned from various recruiting ads and commercials. Listen, and say ‘Amen.’
“Many will hear the calling. Few will earn the title. The transformation is forever. Men who know the meaning of honor. There are those who dedicate themselves to a sense of honor.. And a life of courage… And to a commitment to something greater than themselves… If you complete the journey, you will be one of the few…”
Hallelujah! And, ‘Amen.’ Now that, my friends, represents the real spirit of the calling of Jesus Christ. If you start with right expectations, you can hope to achieve right results. But if you’ve been duped by thinking that the Christian life is going to be a flowery bed of ease, you’ll be offended, and deeply disappointed. You will say, “I didn’t sign up for this.” Perhaps, you will echo the words of a man whom I heard say one day, “Man, things have gotten so bad since I accepted Christ that I’m thinking about going back Satan’s way.” Oh, well. Let’s hope that’s not you.
I’m going to break here, and pick up tomorrow. We’ll tie this in with what it takes to become highly skilled in hearing from God. If you’re not already a follower of Jesus Christ, then get a head start on tomorrow’s lesson by signing up today. Here is the prayer leading to salvation. And here’s the prayer of enlistment.
Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now to receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you meant for me to be. Amen.
Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.
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