I love to make suggestions. I feel really happy when I suggest a restaurant to someone and they try it and have a great experience. I will go to great pains to passionately describe why someone should try a certain restaurant, or book or check out a podcast that I have listened to. And it bothers me to no end when the person I am trying to convince gives me the impression that they don’t have an interest in trying out my suggestion. I have often thought about why this bothers me so much. What do I care if they miss out on a fabulous meal or a marvelously written book? It’s their loss, right? But it does bother me. A lot!
In giving this thought, I realize that I am bothered simply because I care. I want the people in my life to have every great experience I have had and I want to be able to share in that with them. For instance, when a friend comes back to me after having read a book or listened to a podcast I recommended, and they gush about how amazing it was, we now have something deeper to share. We now have a common experience that we can talk about. I also have the joy in my heart of knowing that my recommendation added value to my friend’s life in some small way.
So did you know that in the Bible God has made countless recommendations that add value to our lives? Not only does He have the most intimate knowledge of what is best for us, But He knows what we will enjoy, what will keep us free from misery, and what will feed our souls. Out of this most intimate knowledge of us, He recommends actions and behaviors.
Many people read the Bible incorrectly as a book of “Do’s and Don’ts’”. But here’s the problem with that thinking: when I make a recommendation to a friend regarding a restaurant or a good book, my friend could choose to do three things.
- My friend could think that I’m controlling and bossy and that I should mind my own business.
- My friend could totally ignore my suggestion.
- My friend could take my suggestion and see what they think about it for themselves.
God allows us the same three choices. We can choose to see Him as a bossy, harsh taskmaster who is only concerned with having perfect little robots obey Him, or we can ignore His words all together. But the wise choice is to heed His words, knowing that He is looking out for what is best for us, outlining methods of behavior that will lead us to peace and strength. Furthermore, He enjoys sharing in the experience with us as we walk this road that He is illuminating. He speaks the direction and then we walk in it. He shows us a better way and then enjoys seeing us flourish on the journey.
Deuteronomy 28: 1-9: If you listen obediently to the Voice of God, your God, and heartily obey all his commandments that I command you today, God, your God, will place you on high, high above all the nations of the world. All these blessings will come down on you and spread out beyond you because you have responded to the Voice of God, your God:
God’s blessing inside the city,
God’s blessing in the country;
God’s blessing on your children,
the crops of your land,
the young of your livestock,
the calves of your herds,
the lambs of your flocks.
God’s blessing on your basket and bread bowl;
God’s blessing in your coming in,
God’s blessing in your going out.
7 God will defeat your enemies who attack you. They’ll come at you on one road and run away on seven roads.
8 God will order a blessing on your barns and workplaces; he’ll bless you in the land that God, your God, is giving you.
9 God will form you as a people holy to him, just as he promised you, if you keep the commandments of God, your God, and live the way he has shown you.
But it’s not that simple is it. While I think most of us reading this blog would agree that if there is a God who created all things that He would certainly have a wisdom that we can never attain to. And if He has infinite wisdom and knowledge that transcends time and space, one would be colossally dense to ignore His direction. But people do this every day. As human beings, we tend to spin off on our own tangents and reap the results of our limited brain matter. We could hit a bull’s eye every time if we followed the Lord’s commands and personal direction, but we don’t. So what’s the hang-up?
The issue is that we don’t listen. We occasionally tune in to ask the Lord to guide and direct us, but that’s usually when our fat is in the fire. On a day to day basis, however, most of us aren’t very tuned in. How often do you stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath and ask the Lord to direct you? How many mornings are you rushing out the door to be a drone in this world’s system with little to no thought about what God may want to say to you that day?
I heard a preacher say that we have as much of God as we make room for. I would add that we hear as much of His voice as we tune in for. Let’s make a commitment today to ask Jesus for help in this area. I don’t know about you, but I can certainly tune in more often and with greater expectation. I look forward to greater intimacy with the Lord as I follow His direction and share with Him in the experiences that He has purposed for me!
- Do you struggle to remember to include the Lord in your day?
- Does the work day or life with the kids rush by in a whirlwind before you realize that you didn’t reach out to the Lord once?
- Do you long to maintain fellowship and a tuned-in posture with God all day long, not just in times of prayer at home?
- When the Lord speaks, how quick are you to obey what you hear?
If someone you really admire gives you a suggestion, how likely are you to try what they recommend? Alternatively, if you have a friend who is never on the same page and whose lifestyle you wouldn’t want to emulate makes the same recommendation, how likely are you to take their suggestion? As you can see, the level of respect and trust that you have for the person making the recommendation determines the likelihood that you will follow through on their suggestion. Based upon your responses to the bulleted questions above, how would you rate your level of trust and respect for the Lord as He gives you direction in His Word and in prayer?
Heavenly Father, we come to You with humble hearts filled with contrition for the myriads of times that You have spoken a clear word to us and we have dismissed it as distasteful, not relevant or uncomfortable. Please forgive us for believing the lie that we know best and can provide for ourselves. Please cleanse our hearts from the rebellion that wants to create our own little kingdoms and satisfy the longings of our own hearts. Jesus, You came to demonstrate that there is a life that can be lived above the limitations of this world and the key to that life is obedience. Give us, Lord, willing hearts to hear You speak and to quickly obey when we hear Your voice.
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