Wednesday, November 26, 2008

God's presence (part 4)

A big happy Thanksgiving Day to you all! After the meal tomorrow, I’ll be settling in to watch some Lions football. Who knows, we may even get to see the Detroit Lions keep their perfect season (ha!). I hope you enjoy the time with family and friends. We conclude this series on how we can experience God’s presence with the last step, a conversational relationship.

4. A Conversational Relationship
Before Jesus was crucified He told them (15:15 NIV),

I no longer call you servants,
because a servant does not know his master’s business.
Instead, I have called you friends,
for everything that I learned from my Father
I have made known to you.

What does it mean to be a friend of God? What does that involve? The answer leads us to the last way we can experience God’s presence. This is through a conversational relationship. Friends talk to one another; this is how Jesus revealed everything from the Father to His disciples in John 15. Since God is a Person, the question becomes, why wouldn’t He talk with us? Maybe we should ask ourselves if we even believe such a relationship with God is possible? Is it possible to come to a point where we are in a conversation with God and actually hear Him speaking on a regular basis? I think scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, presents an overwhelmingly convincing case that we can.

Example of a Conversation Relationship
One of the best examples of this is Abraham. His life can be read about in Genesis chapters 11 –25. He was called by God to leave his country and go to the land God would show him (12:1-3). God spoke to Abraham and told him he would be a great nation and a blessing to all the other nations (12:2-3). If you glance at Abraham’s life you see a pretty common occurrence, God speaking to him and Abraham speaking back. In fact, it is interesting that the New Testament holds Abraham up as the greatest example of what real faith in God is to look like. It is not Moses, or David, or any of the prophets (major and minor), it is Abraham. Why? Abraham didn’t have the Law, the written Word, or the Temple. So, what did he have? He had a conversational relationship with God. Abraham spoke to God and God spoke to Abraham. They communed on a regular basis with each other.

So, how do we get to the place of having a conversational relationship with God? I think there are a couple of things we can do.
1. We need to learn how to talk with (not at) Him meaningfully. Maybe we start in our prayer life by learning how to pray conversationally. Maybe we pause after requests and listen for Him to answer.
2. We need to learn how to listen to Him and discern His voice. This will come with practice and patience. The longer we walk with Him the better we should be at getting to hear and discern His voice.

The greatest thing about all of this is that the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, the Comforter, is willing to help us. The great chink in the Enemy’s armor is that we were made to live like this. We were made to live in a conversational relationship with God. When I sold auto parts, the parts that were made for the vehicle fit it best. It may have taken some work to get them to fit, but they were made for that.

May you enjoy God and may He enjoy you!
Happy Thanksgiving!

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