Tag Archive | better

Roadblock #5 – Busyness – The Enemy of Freedom

When we don’t have time for God, it’s difficult to have a meaningful conversation or relationship with Him. The busyness of life may keep you from hearing God’s voice. Satan loves to fill up our lives, even with good, godly acts of service, so that we don’t have time to listen to God’s voice. The enemy keeps us in chaos and noise so that we cannot hear the still, small voice of Jesus. Are you too busy serving in too many places, so you miss out on what He says to you? Or do you make time regularly to sit alone with the Lord, listening to His Spirit within you? He does have something to say to you.

Remember Mary and Martha? Martha opened her home to Jesus. All her preparations for His visit robbed her of spending time with her Guest of honor, while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and eagerly listened to what He said.

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40-41)

Are you too busy doing, doing, doing to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to what He wants to say to you? It pleased Jesus that Mary sat and listened to Him, and He didn’t take that time away from her. Everything else could wait.

I must confess, my innate tendency is to behave more like Martha than Mary. Being the die-hard people-pleaser that I am, if Jesus and His disciples came to visit my home, I might be more worried about the hospitality than the relationality. I could see myself scurrying around, cleaning, preparing a meal, and making sure my guests are well taken care of. I would be more inclined to “do” than to “be” still and listen.

Understanding my nature and God-given spiritual gift of help or service, I must force myself to be more social and relational when hosting a gathering. My efforts are usually concentrated on fulfilling the roles of maid, cook, caterer, server, dishwasher, launderer, and concierge, rather than playing the warm, welcoming, congenial hostess role. I’m afraid I would be more concerned about making sure Jesus had a clean, comfortable place to sit, a nice meal to eat, a tasty wine to drink, and crisp, clean sheets to sleep on than on honoring Him with my undivided time, listening to every word that rolled out of His mouth.

Opposites attract, however. My husband is a popular, sanguine Mary. He walks into a crowded room and immediately bursts with positive energy from being in a social atmosphere. He loves communicating with anyone and everyone. He enjoys initiating and carrying on conversations with complete strangers. A social gathering is very exciting and emotionally stimulating for him. He talks and listens to each guest who enters our home, making them feel special and welcome. My husband would shake Jesus’s hand and cheerfully sit at His feet, listening to every word He spoke. Whose behavior do you think Jesus would most appreciate? Are you a Martha or a Mary?

When Martha told Jesus to reprimand Mary for not helping her with the preparations, Jesus very clearly set Martha straight on her priorities. We have to find a balance between serving and spending time alone with Christ, listening to His voice. Is Jesus pleased with the amount of individual attention you give Him? Are you making your time with Him a priority over your other activities?

Your calendar might be due for an overhaul. Free up some time daily to be with God. Cross off some of the less important activities. Write in ink, not pencil, to schedule your “God” time. Don’t let another activity “bump” your time with God or take priority over your relationship with Jesus, the Lord of your life. Perhaps you have fallen prey to some of these misconceptions:

 

#1: I don’t have time to wait for God to speak to me.

#2: All these other activities I do are more urgent than spending time with God.

#3: Investing time in godly activities equals having a relationship with Jesus.

 

Click on the link below to purchase your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak. Identify the obstacles and the lies that hinder your communication with the Holy Spirit, and then, make an effort to remove and disprove them. This book will get you started in the right direction.

Click here to Purchase the book now.

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

Roadblock #3 – Pride – The Enemy of Humility

Independence, control, and comparison. Those words don’t sound prideful when spoken individually. However, when we rely on ourselves for everything and don’t depend on God for anything, He could view this independent spirit as arrogance or overconfidence. Likewise, it often feels good to be in complete control of ourselves, our lives, an event, a situation, another person, or his actions. The haughty monster of pride rears its ugly head in the condescending creature of control. And when we compare ourselves to others and always come out on top, a conceited nature triumphs over humility in our souls. Be careful—this sounds a bit like sitting in the judgment seat, and that’s not a position you want to claim for yourself. Judgment is reserved for Almighty God alone.

Pride is mentioned in Proverbs 6:16-19 as one of the seven things detestable to God. Pride manifests itself in these forms: arrogance, conceit, self-importance, egotism, vanity, haughty eyes, condescension, scorn, disrespect, snootiness, loftiness, and contemptuousness. The Lord despises proud actions and attitudes. Here are a few of the many verses that describe how God feels about pride:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar. (Psalm 138:6)

If you are not hearing God’s voice, you may want to perform a pride inventory in your spirit. Do you practice humility and selflessness, or are you responsible for behaviors that are detestable to God? The verses above assure us that God will punish the proud of heart, and He doesn’t go near individuals who are full of pride. If you hold pride in your heart, confess it and ask God’s forgiveness. Get rid of all pride, arrogance, conceit, self-importance, haughtiness, disrespect, loftiness, and condescension before you seek the Lord to listen to His voice. Treat others as more important than yourself. Assume the position of the lowly, the meek, and the servant. Don’t take it to the extreme so that you resemble a doormat, but approaching the Lord with a contrite heart, in humility, opens the door to receiving God’s words of grace, encouragement, and wisdom.

Unfortunately, pride comes much too naturally to all of us, including me. Read about the fall of humankind in Genesis 3. From the very beginning of time, self-importance snuck into human desire. Satan tempted Eve with the idea that she could be all-knowing and wise, like God, if she ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. Deceived by the devil, Eve ate some and gave some to Adam. Pride initiated a sinful response when the evil one presented his temptation.

The need for independence and superiority continues to be the cause of some of our sin today. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” The truth of this verse rang loudly in the Garden of Eden. It still rings true thousands of years later.

Another example of haughtiness is found in Ezekiel 28, the prophecy against the king of Tyre. In verse 17, the Sovereign Lord says, “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.” God detested his arrogance. The king’s pride preceded his destruction.

In Proverbs 8:13, the wise Solomon says, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Fear in this case is the same reverence for the Lord that we talked about in the previous blog. When you respect the Lord, you will detest all pride and arrogance, as He does. Yet arrogance sneaks into all areas of life. Recall that pride inventory we talked about? It may be necessary to make that assessment daily, even hourly.

If pride in any form resides in your life, don’t expect to be close to God and hear from Him regularly. Psalm 138:6 says, “Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar.” As another passage I’ve already quoted says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:6-8). God spends time with humble people who submit themselves to Him and make time for Him. God distances Himself from the self-righteous, prideful, judgmental person.

When the needle on the pride-o-meter registers anywhere on the gauge, take action immediately to dispose of all forms of pride. Humble yourself before the Lord. Submit yourself to Him and exalt Him, rather than yourself. Show the Lord how much you trust in Him for everything. Relinquish your control to the Most High. Place the desires of others ahead of your own. Do not judge any person or behavior. Assume the servant position in God’s kingdom.

Do you struggle with judging others or promoting yourself to a higher pedestal? What alerts you of your arrogance? I can tell you truly, when I do not practice the humility of a servant, I should not expect God will speak to me. No matter my standing or position in the world, I am but an unworthy sinner, forgiven and saved by God’s grace alone. I am no better than anyone else. If I do not treat others better than myself, God has no business with me, and therefore no reason to talk to me.

Anytime I have seated myself on the judgment throne with regard to another human being, God has given me an opportunity to experience the same affliction, position, or experience as the one I judged. Very soon I’ve gained a new appreciation and respect for the one I condemned because I have walked down a similar path. Becoming the object of my own pride rapidly and effectively cuts me down to size. When the roadblock of pride comes down, my reception of God’s voice dramatically improves.

The Bible provides many significant illustrations of humility. Jesus, God’s own Son, displayed the ultimate humility when He left His throne in heaven and came to earth to be the sacrificial Lamb and die for our sins. Another dramatic demonstration of Christ’s servanthood took place when He washed the feet of His disciples. We can imitate this kind of humility when we selflessly serve our own subordinates, or, better yet, those we judge. This foot washing can be accomplished literally or figuratively. Think of a way you might take an unassuming position with someone you lead, manage, or influence. Is there any type of metaphorical foot washing you could perform for him or her? Maybe picking up a towel and basin of water is what you really need.

Let’s examine some of the enemy’s deceit in our thoughts, which gives birth to overconfidence. You might believe you can take care of yourself; you know what’s best for you. Or, you might think you are in control of your own life. Is it possible that thinking you are better than someone else for any reason could be hampering your clear reception of God’s voice in your thoughts? Grab your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God’s Voice today, and begin identifying what stands in your way of hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, who makes your heart His home.

Click here to purchase this book now.

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series