About two years ago we shared our home with a young family for a few months. There were four adults and five children (all under five years old!) living under one roof. Life was often chaotic and yet extraordinarily beautiful. As we all laid down our lives, we received the blessing of life in community.
The three-year-old boy left a very specific deposit in my heart. Whenever we would get ready to go somewhere, he’d say: “We go together.” He was so excited to do things together. For me, his enthusiasm spoke of the “together”. God meant for us to live on earth. 1 Corinthians 12:27 reminds us that all of us together are the temple of God. The Kingdom cannot come, on earth as it is in heaven, in just one person. It has to come in all of us, together. Together, risen up in the resurrection of Christ, we begin to take shape, looking like the Bride.
Does “together” come easily for you? If so, thank God for this blessing. If not, ask the Spirit to reveal to you why.
Thank you, Jesus. You sacrificed your “together” as part of the most intimate Trinity to come teach us what it means to come together, sharing our lives and our Light with others. Amen.
1. Take no time for margins in your life. Fill your life with so much activity that there is no room to “Be still, cease striving, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). When we live in the tyranny of the urgent, we can be so busy that two-way conversation with God is not a priority.
2. Don’t admit that you have any needs. Be so self-sufficient that you don’t need a prayer base. We all need personal intercessors. Yet, as I ask most Christian leaders if they have a prayer base as a necessity of their life and ministry, they reply blankly, “Uh… no.”
3. Respond to every need as if you are the only one who can fix it. Jesus did not respond to every need. From our people-pleasing natures, it is not easy to see that every need is not our call. Our valid call is only from God, not from the pleading voices around us.
4. Don’t ask God any questions. People have questions, and they will look for the answers somewhere: psychics, self-help books, friends, talk-radio shows, the internet, etc. Only God is the source of eternal Truth. He is available for our questions, toll-free, unlimited access.
5. Be so exhausted that your physical, mental, and emotional fatigue cries out to be satisfied louder than the still, small voice of God. To hear from God, we must take adequate time off to get much-needed rest and refreshment. Burned out, we are no good to ourselves or anybody else, much less to God.
6. Completely ignore the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks words of truth and comfort and enables us to grow in spiritual awareness. By slighting His work and failing to rely on Him, we short-change our ability to hear from God.
7. Insist that God must conform to your comfort zone. Be so comfortable that if God did speak, it would upset your status quo. Self-satisfaction kills our hunger to hear from God. So does lack of vision that there’s more beyond where we are. When we are busy perpetuating a personal agenda, we will not hear the voice of God, especially if it means change.
8. Be religious. “Religion” is characterized by tunnel vision that thinks it has all the answers. Religion does not deepen us in the grace of God. Look at the Pharisees. They were preoccupied with keeping every jot and tittle of the law. Jesus called them whited sepulchers, full of dead men’s bones. They kept a form of godliness and missed God walking among them. God calls us to cultivate a living relationship in intimacy with Him at all costs.
9. Be ignorant of the warfare. We must not see only the surface of things. We are not fighting flesh and blood but unseen spiritual battles (Ephesians 6:12-13). Paul instructed us not to wage war on the horizontal level as the world does. The informed and armed soldier overcomes everything that sets itself up against the righteousness, peace, and joy of the kingdom of God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Romans 14:17).
10. Tolerate unconfessed sin in your life. The psalmist said, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). Our sin and flesh must not be allowed to dominate so loudly that they drown out God. We must draw near God with a clean conscience (Hebrews 10:22).
Follow the example of Jesus, who often slipped away from
the crowds to spend time with the quiet loving voice of his Father.