Monday, August 15, 2011

The Key to the Christian Life!

One morning I woke up after a dream. I had this feeling that I had learned the key to life, to Utopian happiness. As I searched the dream, I couldn't remember what it was. How disappointed I was that morning. I went to the kitchen and made my self a bowl of Cheerios. I searched my memory all day long - even today I wonder what was it that I dreamed that day. I really can't explain it.

This week the Kingdom Bloggers are going to write about a facet of Christianity that they are most passionate about. Each of us comes from a different background, and walks with God in a personal way; the defining moments we wrote about last week are the building blocks of our lives.

Whenever I speak with Christians, whether they are new to the game, or long-timers like myself, there are always a few things that I am passionate about. Sure there are loads of important Christian things we need to do: prayer, Bible reading/study, church attendance are all good; they are. Priorities are good: God, spouse, children, work, ministry, and hobbies/sports, they are essential for allowing God to manifest himself in our lives.

If you are a reader of Fire & Grace, you know that I am passionate about the 5-Fold ministries Paul wrote about in Ephesians 4:11. You would also know that as much as I hate labels, I am Charismatic embracing the spiritual gifts, miracle healing, prophecy, the casting out of demons and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. You would also know that I think growing up as disciples, and spreading the Good News is an awesome responsibility!

Of course, I am most passionate about my Savior, Jesus!

There is, however; one more thing that I want every believer to know about. It is the very revelation that changed my Christian walk. In fact, it changed my life more than my own salvation experience. One day I was wrapping up worship rehearsal, and I asked the leader why we couldn't play a certain song? He replied, "because I don't feel that God wants us to." Before I could continue in my confusion - I mean I didn't ask to play a Black Sabbath tune - he continued: "David, we walk by faith. We can't just do things that sound Christian, but only those things that God is actually leading us to do."

I was actually stunned, because it was the difference between logically applying a Scripture, and hearing God, and being obedient to that.

Certainly there are a million Scriptures we could act upon at any given moment. For example, we meet a co-worker with a need for salvation at the coffee machine. We know they are lost, and they don't. The question is do we dump Romans Road on them, or is God up to something else?

I once met a guy that felt strongly about preaching the gospel to his new next door neighbor. He said, "I heard God ask me to do it." He would regularly engage the neighbor doing lawn work, or picking up the mail at the curbside box. The neighbor was often heading out for a run about the same time he was getting the newspaper from the sidewalk. "Why don't you come running." his neighbor joked seeing him in his bathrobe and headed down the sidewalk.

This man finally started running at a gym in private to build up his strength. One morning instead of getting the newspaper, he showed up in his running shorts, and surprised his neighbor. They ran together for two years just about every morning. Finally, the neighbors were over for a backyard BBQ and the couple came to the Lord.

About 6 months later his neighbor's home was invaded; his running mate was murdered, and his wife sexually assaulted. I know, I can't even imagine all the dynamics. I just remember this man saying, "I am just so grateful that God led me to love my neighbor in a way that he recognized was God. If I had been too busy to hear God, or had some sort of religious agenda, I doubt this would have turned out the way it did."

I still think abut that testimony when I need to know what to do about work, home, or even what to say to folks I meet in my day-to-day. If I can hear God, and walk by faith, I will always know what to do next in my walk. Sure, hearing God is not easy, but I believe that he wants to speak to us. Of course He does that in many different ways, but my favorite is hearing His still small voice. Over the years, I have learned to trust it (and yes, I have been wrong). However; I expect to hear from him now, and as I look back over my life since that day I was packing up my guitar after worship practice, I know that God spoke to me through the worship leader.

How about you, how does God speak to you?


Andrea York said...

David, this is awesome, although I can't imagine you ever not knowing God's voice and living by the Spirit. Yes, I know it would have to be true but from 3000 miles away and never having met you, I can tell you walk by faith and you have a real relationship with the Father who speaks to you.

God speaks to me in a variety of ways - many times a 'knowing', often a voice in my head, lots of pictures/metaphors and lots of dreams.

I can't wait to share on Wednesday. Writing this week has been such a great way to remember the most important lesson.

David-FireAndGrace said...

@Andrea - interesting, walking by faith is tough no matter how long you've been in the business.

A few weeks I thought the Lord told me to do something (a real sacrifice for me) and I wanted to make sure that it was Him. To have done it and not have it be him would have been a little embarrassing, not too mention costly. When I got to church, I was still was unsure and decided to wait. Not long into worship a woman that I know walked over to me and said this: "I feel like the Lord wants you to know that you are doing the right thing, and even if his voice seems a little static-y, it is for a purpose. You are doing a great job."

That is why we need a body. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to do as God commanded, and both me and the other guy were just in awe of the Master!

Tony C said...

Excellent start to the week my friend! I'm will admit to being a bit surprised though...but in a good way.

God speaks to me in my quiet time, when I'm desparately seeking His face, His will for my life. Sometimes I'm not exactly thrilled at what I'm being told (like Jonah and Nineveh), but then, I don't have to be do I? The prospects of 3 days in a fish's belly is not too appealing.

Tracy said...

Such a good Word brother! It really is all the difference in the world; just doing good, Christians things, or doing what God's Spirit leads you to do. Your friend's story brought tears to my eyes.

God speaks to me through that inner, impulse of the Holy Spirit. He confirms that impulse through His Word, sometimes His people, and circumstances. I never cease to be blown away that the actual All Mighty God, the Creator of the Universe, would be willing to live in side me and let me participate in His work!

Joyce Lighari said...

I used to be so uncertain and want to analyze everything before I realized it was God - that's my basic nature, to think and analyze. For a while, I got more secure in my ability to hear God. While I know I still hear from Him, my carnal analytical nature seems to be more at work again. You are right, good reminder for miss analytical - we do walk by faith.

Carolyn Evaine Counterman said...

Hey David! I followed you over here from Charlie's Church of Christ. I really appreciate this post. I have been learning to listen to God - to really feel His leading - little by little recently. It is a totally different experience than just imposing some one-size-fits-all formula onto every situation. I'm sure I will make some missteps along the way, but I feel that I am going to have a much better relationship with God by doing this. Thanks for the encouragement.

David-FireAndGrace said...

Hey Carolyn - thanks for reading along. We all make mistakes, but the doesn't end the relationship!