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Monday, September 29, 2008

Spiritual Vision

I often talk to people who tell me that they "don't hear anything from God." They are believers, religious and seem to be sincere in their faith. Yet they claim that God doesn't speak to them. Usually this comes up in the context of their knowing God's will for their life. All of us - who think it matters - want to know God's will for our lives. What does God want me to do? Where does God want me to go? Is this decision I'm about to make in accordance with God's will for me? Those questions haunt us. And it's right that they do! We should want the answers to those questions.

But what is one to do if God won't tell you? What is the conclusion one should reach? Sadly some people conclude that God doesn't care. They may question their salvation. They may wonder what they've done to cause God to act with such indifference toward them. Still others get frustrated, maybe even angry with God. Of course none of these is an appropriate response. Instead, I believe the answers are in God's Word (the Bible).

Jesus taught an important sermon, called the "Sermon on the Mount." You can read it in Matthew, chapters five (5) through seven (7). In Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus said, "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness." Now, let's be clear. Jesus wasn't talking about our physical eyes. Rather He was speaking of our spiritual vision - the ability to see things from God's perspective. Some have called it discernment. Others have called it spiritual maturity. But I think spiritual vision is a good way to understand it.

Spiritual vision is our capacity to see clearly what God wants us to do and to see the world from His point of view. But this spiritual vision can be clouded. Self-serving desires, interests and goals can readily block that spiritual vision. The problem is, that most of the Christians I know don't seem to be aware of their self-serving desires, interests and goals. Yet it is clear to me that they stand in the way. So whenever I feel as if God isn't speaking to me ... it's time for some self-evaluation. How focused am I on God and His priorities? How well am I listening to God (i.e., spending time in contemplative prayer, reading my Bible, listening to wise counsel)?

If something is clouding my view of God, or my ability to see things His way, I can be certain that He didn't put it there. It is God's will to reveal Himself - and His ways, to us. So it would never be His will to block that view. He wants us to be informed, to understand and not to be ignorant or misguided.

When I identify some self-serving desires, interests and goals within me, it is time to crucify them. And the best way to crucify my selfishness is to serve God and His agenda. Put others before myself. Set myself aside. Make some sacrifices for others. Compromise some of my own priorities for God's sake. This could be as simple as giving up the football game to go to church or to do some volunteer work. Or it could be as pronounced as selling my lake house and funding a mission with the money. Talking to God ... and listening to God ... will usually provide me with the Holy Spirit's leading when it comes to crucifying my selfishness.

So, if you think God is not speaking to you --- you are probably wrong. He is a man of few words (to coin a phrase). But He is not a God of secrets. Just remember it is His will to reveal Himself and His will to each of His followers. The only thing to question then is how well I am following!

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