Like me you might know a few gracious people with whom it is always easy to have dealings with. At other times, we might be confronted with some rude persons who unexpectedly utter words of truth. 🙄 Nonetheless, neither the gracious nor the veracious person must necessarily be a Christian. There are pleasant-natured people who are able to enjoy life and to be thankful for that, too. However, if you start to wonder whom they might owe their blessings in life, they remain silent or they evade the issue. Maybe, they tell you they were thankful toward life itself, toward Mother Nature, toward the universe or they believe in angels, instead.
Sometimes I ask myself why there are hardly any people who really believe in God, still (here in Germany at least). Although there are Christians who go to church, whether it is the Catholic, the Pentecostal or the Bible-believing evangelical, yet…… If you are confronted with regular churchgoers, you might wonder how little they are often able to discern the voice of God from other voices, i.e. from the voice of the flesh, of the world, and of Satan. The main reason for this critical condition seems to me that they tend to have preconceptions about how God must necessarily speak to them, dependent on the color of their religious-tinted glasses. If you find a mandatory human hierarchy in the church, God must use this hierarchy in a top-down-way to get through to the common believer at the further end, they believe. So, if God really speaks to them, they check first, “Was it the pastor/pope/priest/preacher/elder who spoke to me? No? It was just a simple human being that does not even go to church?? Hmm… God would never speak through such people, or would He…?” 🙄
Well, through whom does God speak today, then? Does He not use those ‘channels’ who were called by Him to be Jesus’ disciples, those who follow Him by enduring the cross on a daily basis and who discern His voice from others as they are His sheep (Jn 10:27)? How does Jesus think of those who follow His leading – wherever He leads? As He is their Head Who tells them what to do, they are His Body which is inseparably connected to its Head, but only if they are obedient to His voice! These are no true Christians who claim to belong to Jesus if they are not obedient to Him in the long run. The apostle John put it that way,
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (Jn 3:36 ESV)
His Body does NOT consist of believers who act for God as they see fit, as much as they wear themselves out by doing so. In fact, Jesus Christ identifies completely with us as we obey Him. If we are blessed by others, He is blessed, too, and even God is blessed. If we are cursed, Jesus is cursed, and God is cursed as well. Really? Yes, as we listen to what Jesus once said to His disciples,
“He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.” (Lk 10:16 KJV)
For further explanation of this verse we could read Joseph Benson’s who wrote the following.
Luke 10:16. He that heareth you — Here our Lord declares the general rule which he would observe, with regard to those to whom he sent, or should send his ministers; that he would reckon himself treated as they treated his servants. Indeed, what is done to the ambassador is generally considered as done to the prince that sends him. 1st, He that heareth you, and regards what you say, heareth me, and therein doth me honour: but, 2d, He that despiseth you, doth, in effect, despise me, and shall be reckoned with as having put an affront upon me: nay, he despiseth him that sent me. Observe, reader, those that contemn the Christian religion, do, in effect, put a slight upon natural religion, of which it is perfective. And they who despise the faithful ministers of Christ, they who, though they do not hate and persecute them, yet think meanly of them, look on them with scorn, and neglect to attend their ministry, will be reckoned with as despisers of God and of Christ.
How perfectly Jesus identified with those first Christians who were persecuted by the Jews, including later apostle Paul, we understand it if we read this passage of the New Testament below.
And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting ME? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said,
‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.’ (Acts 26:14-15 ESV – emphasis added)
Dear brothers and sisters, we must be cautious to not overlook and to not miss hearing God’s subtle voice through people we might personally not like. Whether they are charming, charismatic personalities who are seemingly successful or if they are ostensibly ‘plain pipsqueaks ‘, God shows no partiality. And we should not do it, either, as God once told His own people,
“You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deut 16:19-20 ESV)
May God give us this spiritual life abundantly. Amen.