At first sight, this article might seem to contradict what I said in my latest post where I mentioned that the first impression we sense in our heart and mind was the voice of God, i.e., the voice of the One we love. However, today I want to be more precise on what loving God really means. Although I want to affirm that God who created man offers His continued help to every human being by making them feel uneasy about wrong decisions and restful about the proper decisions in His view, those who have come to know and love their God also know that His voice is the one they fear the most. I am not speaking of a slavish fear that helplessly makes us react in order to not be punished for our “mistakes”. Instead, I refer to the fear of God that makes our soul tremble when we perceive His warnings all of a sudden in our mind and heart. If we really love Him, we want to please Him, and we will eventually obey out of that love God has poured into our very hearts beforehand. The apostle Paul told us,
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Rom 8:14-17 ESV)
If we know the love of God for all of His children, we might also know that He only appeals in an urgent manner to us when there is great danger ahead. He is a loving Father who wants to prevent His children from falling into temptation and wants to keep them from being ensnared by the devil in any way. However, He never forces us to do something. Our own free will remains ours. But, if we indeed have had the experience of God’s insisting voice inside us and we ignored it again and again (which is very difficult!), then we should not wonder if He lets the devil deceive us for a certain time until we wake up and realize what went wrong.
A clear sign of having been deceived is that we feel secure in everything we do and in everything we say or write. Actually, there seems to be no need any longer to ask God about anything. We can do it all on our own. Oh my! What a big deception is this!! It is exactly the opposite of what Jesus told us here,
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (Jn 15:4-7 ESV)
We see in the last verse that our closeness to God is closely related to the number of our prayers He has heard. “WHATEVER you wish…it will be done for you.” This is, of course, only possible if we are finally of one heart and mind with God Himself. In closing, I want to share one of Oswald Chambers’ devotionals on our Lord’s “not so kind” way of speaking with us.
Have you ever heard the Master say something very difficult to you? If you haven’t, I question whether you have ever heard Him say anything at all. Jesus says a tremendous amount to us that we listen to, but do not actually hear. And once we do hear Him, His words are harsh and unyielding.
Jesus did not show the least concern that this rich young ruler should do what He told him, nor did Jesus make any attempt to keep this man with Him. He simply said to him, “Sell all that you have…and come, follow Me.” Our Lord never pleaded with him; He never tried to lure him— He simply spoke the strictest words that human ears have ever heard, and then left him alone.
Have I ever heard Jesus say something difficult and unyielding to me? Has He said something personally to me to which I have deliberately listened— not something I can explain for the sake of others, but something I have heard Him say directly to me? This man understood what Jesus said. He heard it clearly, realizing the full impact of its meaning, and it broke his heart. He did not go away as a defiant person, but as one who was sorrowful and discouraged. He had come to Jesus on fire with zeal and determination, but the words of Jesus simply froze him. Instead of producing enthusiastic devotion to Jesus, they produced heartbreaking discouragement. And Jesus did not go after him, but let him go. Our Lord knows perfectly well that once His word is truly heard, it will bear fruit sooner or later. What is so terrible is that some of us prevent His words from bearing fruit in our present life. I wonder what we will say when we finally make up our minds to be devoted to Him on that particular point? One thing is certain— He will never throw our past failures back in our faces.