Weekly Wisdoms for the week of June 26, 2006
Jesus said to his followers, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32). If we hold to his teaching, meaning live in it, abide in it, and follow it, then we will know the truth. That's exactly the way hearing from God works. When we abide in his word, we will know his voice, which is truth.
All of scripture is God talking to his people. So, in order to hear from God, you must know scripture.
God has given us scripture, and he calls it his word. It is the word of God. And we refer to it as God's word. So, how do you know when God's talking to you? Because he talks through his word.
In order to hear God talking to you, you must know his word. The more you know his word, the better you'll hear his voice.
In most businesses, success is measured in numbers: amount of profit, number of customers, volume of sales, percent increase in revenue, etc. In the church, it can be easy to slip into the mindset of measuring success by numbers: number of members, amount of donations received, total square footage of the church building, number of regular attenders, etc.
However, God desires that His people adopt a different definition of success. In the church, success should be measured by transformed lives--not big membership, big budgets, or big buildings.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with being a big church; however, a big church doesn't necessarily mean a successful church. That's because filling a church with people means nothing if lives are not transformed.
Transformed lives are lives that are on fire for God. In Revelation 3:16, God is talking about that spiritual fervor and fire: "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm -- neither hot nor cold -- I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
Rather than filling a building with lukewarm people -- people who play spiritual charades -- God desires that His people live transformed lives that worship Him wholeheartedly.
The Israelites lacked the genuine and sincere worship that results from transformed lives. In Isaiah 1:10-14, God rebukes them for their lack of true, heartfelt worship: Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah! "The multitude of your sacrifices -- what are they to me?" says the Lord. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations -- I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
The Israelites served God with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him. Similarly, rather than filling a church with people who can feign worship, God desires that His people live transformed lives.
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All scripture quotations are in italics. Some portions of scripture have been placed in bold by the author for emphasis.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION©. NIV©. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (AMP) are taken from the Amplified Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.