Most Christians believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, so that we could go to heaven. But what if that was not the only or, in essence, His primary mission? What if His primary mission was to teach us how to live on this earth amongst all our fellow human beings as servants of God? And that, when we live as true followers of Jesus, having absorbed his care and help for the poor and needy, the sick and lame, the possessed and more, then and only then do we go to heaven when we die. And, how would we accomplish His love and forgiveness and mercy and sense of justice without allowing God to heal all that stands between God and us, if we didn’t give up all that is ego-centered, my way or the highway, judgmental, angry and fearful within us.
What would happen if we looked at our life here on earth as a school that would teach us all that Jesus pronounced in His time on earth through pain and suffering, through attachment to our families and friends, through our work and leisure—if only we would be willing to learn the lessons of this life, if we were able to listen to all that God is trying to say to us, all that He would have us become.
Our beliefs in Christ, in God and the Holy Spirit are foundational for the life that Jesus leads us to, but then we have to open our hearts and minds to what He is saying to us throughout our days. We can interpret the Bible and all that it says, but how do we know that each interpretation is what God wants us to embrace if we don’t hear His voice and His suggestions for how we are to live?
His “still small voice” [1 Kings 19:12 KJV] is the voice of the Indwelling Spirit of God in each of us. Too often our own much louder thoughts and fears drown out this source of wisdom in us. If we never listen for what God is saying to you at any point in time, how are we to know that our interpretations are the right ones for us?
There is a moment in time for each of us when we can finally hear God’s voice within us. Paul’s encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus was one example. From then on Paul was tuned into where Christ was leading him. The descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost when so many heard the Spirit’s voice in their own language was another. Giving our lives over to Christ provides us with the same access to His voice. And, as we pay attention to it, we are led on an unexpected journey to the purpose of our lives. Step by step, as we hear God’s suggestions and directions, we develop a trust in them that will increase our openness to what God is saying to you, to me.
The first time I remember hearing God’s voice in my mind was when I heard this in my early 40s: “I have an agenda for my life.” I was shocked! The only agenda I knew about was to be a wife and mother and to run our household(I was a product of the 40s and 50s!) First, I wanted to know who the “I” was and then what that agenda might be. After pondering this saying for a while, I decided to ask this question when something came up: “What do I really want to do?” instead of what I had asked all my life: “What should I be doing?” That new question that I had never asked myself before started me down a path of getting to know the deeper and truer me, not the highly conditioned one. It led me to such a sense of benefit for me, the truer me, that with each succeeding suggestion from God, I listened carefully to what He was suggesting and just did whatever it was.
If we listen to all that God is saying to us, we will live in gratitude for all that He has shown us, all that He has done for us. We will be grateful for all the hard times, because some of our biggest lessons have come out of them. This school on earth is the preparation for the totality of our commitment when we die, shedding all the human limitations and our bodies as we die. Then, we will be 100% God’s, doing His work as He directs us. In the meantime, we are to grow and grow into the love and forgiveness, the peace and joy, the mercy and justice of our God and His son.
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I tuned into what God is saying to me? And do I do what He suggests? Am I aware of the “schooling” I am receiving in God’s ways and what He is asking me to do in my life? Do I feel the fulfillment of what He proposes for me? The joy? The purpose He set for me when He created me?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who follow His every suggestion for us, who put God and His kingdom ahead of everything in our lives, who are faithful to Him and to His Word. May we be blessed with joy and fulfillment of all that we are.
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