Thursday, February 6, 2014

Still Small Voice Pt. II

 Then He [God] said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13, NKJV)
 Convictions are not just a series of don't-do-thats in our heart. They are also a series a do-thats. We often overlook that, thinking God only tells us what not to do According to John 12:49-50 (and various other places in the Gospel accounts), Christ only spoke what the Father told Him to speak, and so He tell us, "Go." That's not a "thou-shalt-not," but rather a "thou-shalt." And Jesus didn't often flat-out tell people, "You're sinning, stop that." He asked questions.
 You want to stir up someone's heart to do right, then ask them about it, don't just say they're in the wrong. If a Christian is being obscene, ask them how they feel about it, how God would feel about it (remember the all-too-cliché, WWJD bracelets?). Ask them what God has called them to, and then ask them if that behavior fits their calling. Even when His parents found Him in the temple, He asked them two things; why they were looking for Him, and whether or not they knew He would be about His Father's business. Asking is as good, if not better than telling.

 We only notice our convictions if they're loud, but we must listen for the whisper He puts in our soul. These are often the most important. The loud ones are the do-nots, such as not stealing something, not hurting someone, and the like. The ones everyone knows.
 The small ones are those He's wanting us to hear so that we can learn what He's like inside ourselves. These small ones are the dos. They make us miss stride for a step or two. Ever felt the inexplicable urge to offer someone a few cents when they're short on change? That's probably Him convicting you. Ever seen someone upset and had a compulsion to ask what's wrong? That could be Him as well. The ones compelling us to love, even in small gestures, instead of to merely not sin; these are the convictions of the intimate, loving heart of God working inside of us.

 To be good, as we see in Luke 18 (i think . . . The rich young man part), is not simply not doing bad things; he had kept all the commandments, mostly a series of donts, from childhood. To be good (only God is good; to exercise His heart and, therefore, His goodness), he had to do. He had to sell everything and give it to the poor. But he instead settled with going back to the donts because the dos are sometimes a whole lot harder. But his conviction was loud--it was standing in front of him. Christ, telling him, essentially, "Do an act of love."
 He didn't get the adventurous, beautiful pursuit of God's heart from that gentle tugging at him that the rest of us get. He, apparently a follower of Judaism because he kept the Torah, and also a believer in Christ since he called Him "Good Teacher," knowing full-well that God alone is good, got what so many of us say we need in order to do God's will; a physical manifestation of God standing in front of us, saying what we must do. And even so, he still went away sad because he said no.
 Convictions, more than not doing what is wrong, encourage us to do what is good, what is the will of the Father.

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