Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Obeying the Voice of God

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.
This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.
22-23But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.  Galatians 5:19-23

     How many times have I tried to encourage someone in my life by telling them that God must be planning something better for them?  I’ve thought about God’s plan for my life and been comforted to know that He has one and that He is working on it.  In my darkest hours I’ve consoled myself with the thoughts that there would be a bright morning after the cloudy nights in my life.  Reading this in my Message translation this week has me thinking about God and His plans in a whole different way.  I wonder how many times I have gotten in the way of those plans.
     Every day and every minute His Spirit is with me, guiding my footsteps.  My prayers are constantly filled with pleadings for His help with what seems like the same problems or I pray for strength for my same weaknesses.  I sometimes doubt that He is hearing me.  I wait on an answer for those same struggles to go away.  Today I thought of the many times I have been deep in the heart of a battle and in the heat of the moment received a clear message from the Spirit of what to do, and blatantly ignored it.  Right there!  He was helping me and I didn’t listen.  How many blessings have I missed?  How many wrong roads have I gone down and delayed the progress of my journey with the Father?  How sad.
      I have never felt more motivated to start paying attention.  His love is so constant and He is always there and always giving me the answers I need for this life.  It’s up to me to be listening for that sometimes gentle nudge in the right direction.  It’s time to put “me” aside and give God a real chance.  I’ve missed out on things but I don’t have to continue to do so.  His mercies are new every morning for the forgiven and He won’t give up on me.