CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Life in the Fast Lane
By Dev Bradley
Government shutdowns, debt ceiling limits, science tests, history tests, jury duty, Bible studies, Awana, church picnics, new dogs, car repairs, work, band concerts, budgets, finances, disagreements, schedule conflicts...and the hits just keep on coming. Life is crazy and hectic. Do you even have time to get the required eight hours of sleep every night? As one of my favorite bands, The Eagles, so eloquently stated, "Life in the fast lane. Surely make you lose your mind. Life in the fast lane, everything all the time." All of us are living life in the fast lane. We meet ourselves coming and going. In all of this hub bub, when was the last time you heard God speaking to you? Some people will say, "Dev, you've fallen off your rocker; you're crazy. God doesn't speak to people anymore." I would argue that God does speak to us in many startling ways. Ways that are easy to misunderstand. We just need to take the time to listen.
The most obvious way God speaks to us is through Scripture. He can also speak to us through our pastor, family members, brothers and sisters in Christ, life experiences, friends, songs, movies, non-Christians… He is God, He can speak to us any way He wants to. The problem is, most of the time we either are not listening or we do not want to hear His answer.
God gave us free will because he wanted us to choose to have a relationship with Him. Unfortunately, with free will comes the ability to make selfish decisions. We make selfish decisions because we like being in control—or the illusion of being in control—of our lives. When was the last time you stopped and listened for God to speak to you? Honestly, that would require me to pull out of the fast lane and onto the shoulder. I would have to take the time to stop and listen. I am not talking about listening with my ears, but listening with my heart. We must be prepared to hear, even if it is contradictory to what we want. God tells us to: "Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth," Psalms 46:10. Whoa, wait a minute. What do you mean that I'm not the center of the universe? If you want to hear God speak, you must be still and know that He is God and you must listen with the intent of accepting what He has to say.
Many people will argue that they live in relationship with God and that they listen, but there is a lot of static and interference messing up their connectivity. I pray and listen to God all the time, sometimes he blesses my requests, sometimes He doesn't, that's just how God's Will works. Nothing like a good solid, Christian mantra to fall back on. It may be a good mantra, but it is a tough one to swallow. Why is it difficult to swallow? Because it comes back to free will and control. We are not always gracious when our lives do not turn out the way we want them to. It's easier for us to not even listen for God because we don't want to hear his answer.
Let's shift our perspective and our paradigm. If we are listening with our hearts, does it matter what God's answer for us is? "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future," Jeremiah 29:11. God is on our side. He always has our best interests at heart, even if we do not understand them. This makes receiving His answers much easier. It is not just God's way or the highway. It is the fact that He is genuinely looking out for me. He really does care about me. We may not understand His answer, but we know that He is truly doing what is best for us. If someone cares about me and they have something to say, I stop and give them my full attention. Why don't we give God the same courtesy?
It is time for us to pull out of the fast lane and onto the shoulder. We need to die to ourselves and get out of the way. Cut out the selfish desires, the static and the interference. Be still and know that He is God. Listen with your heart and remember He is on your team. Life becomes more peaceful. But this is hard! I won't be able to do it all of the time. I will mess this up. Yep, so will I, but the really cool thing is that God is on our team and He always has our best interests at heart. Even if we get in the way.
Photo Credit: Escaping Man; Some rights reserved
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Published on 10-10-13