Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Listen Intently

You ask almost any Christian and they will be able to name off a verse of scripture that is special to them. Some have one, others may have several, but almost everyone has at least one. I was thinking of this the other night, comparing my husband’s favorite verse with mine. When the Lord showed me that the two seemed to be linked together, so I began to study the two side by side.

 Phillip’s favorite verse is Psalm 51: 10:

Create in me a clean heart O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (spirit = mind--according to Strongs)

It is the heart’s cry of David during some of his most trying times. David wanted to know God in the most desperate of ways.

Yet he knew that because of his sinful nature(the same nature that is in all people) he was separated from God. God is Holy, too holy to look on sin, so David cried out for God to cleanse his heart of his sin and give him a clean heart so that he could have that right spirit/mind that he needed for him to be able to continue close to God.


One of my most favorite verses is a promise God gives not just to me, but to every one of his children.

      If there be first a willing mind it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Cor. 8:12

(if you remember, mind=spirit)

When I was shown this verse it was like a light came on in my head! All God wants from me is a willingness to obey him. Then lately as I have been studying what scripture says about the mind of Christ I realized Phillipians 2:58:explains why the promise in  2 Corinthians 8  is given:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but, made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion(or form) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (the part in italics took place in heaven as he voluntarily laid down his deity for a time , the rest of the verse(underlined) speaks of Jesus as a man here on earth)It is the willing mind/spirit of Christ that God looks for in us, his children.

When you think of these verses side by side, you see the answer to David’s cry for cleansing. 

David was willing for God to change him, not just willing be pleading with him to. God accepted David just as he was and indeed created a clean heart and a right spirit/mind in him-- Just as he does with us when we cry out to him.


In the same way that David understood he could not do this for himself no matter how much he tried, we must realize that we cannot make our hearts clean enough for God, but if our minds are willing to allow him to make us clean- first through the washing of the blood of Christ, then daily if we come to him with that willing mind, then He can work in and through our lives.


Not us working, but him working through our willing mind/spirit—which  he has promised us he will accept.


Satan works on us with doubts and feelings of unworthiness, trying to make us feel that we do not have what it takes to raise our children as God wants-- to teach a Sunday School class-- to witness to our co-workers-- to come alongside a brother in need and walk with him through his trials. Why does he do this? Because he knows our prideful nature, that we will look to ourselves for the ability to do these things and in most all cases will admit we can’t and give up.

But God doesn’t look at any of those things that we think of as necessary. He is not concerned with what we don’t have. Why?—because “ my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Php. 4:19

God has the resources he needs stored up, just waiting for you to willingly listen to him. Why do I say that? Go back to Phillipians 2:58 and read it again, the last part of the verse is our key. We as men and women must humble ourselves, admit that we don’t have what it takes to carry out his work-- and become obedient, which in the Greek carries the meaning of ‘listening intently’.


After Jesus found himself in the flesh and blood of man-- with all the weaknesses and tendencies to sin that all mankind has: look back at the verse-- from that point on he humbled himself,(he conceded that he did not have what it would take as a man to live the life God intended for him). Thank God he did not give up or stop as we are so prone to do. What did he do? Then he “became obedient’ or he began ‘listening intently for his heavenly father’s instructions’  How long did he listen? until his death.


This is what we need to do, follow Jesus’ example: admit you don’t have what it takes. Not to others, not to the world for they are not the ones who matter in this situation, but admit it  to God! Humble yourself before a God who loves and knows you before you ever tell him, then start listening intently to what he has to say to you. The ability you(and I) need is in his outstretched hand Christian!