The Necessity of Mortification

John Owen (1616-1683)

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“…but if by the Spirit you are putting to death (mortifying) the deeds of the body, you will live.” – Romans 8:13

I am currently working my way through John Owen’s work on The Mortification of Sin in the Believers Life. The first section he deals with why mortification is even necessary in the life of the believer with Romans 8:13 as the key verse. At te end of each section he gives summary statements that are profitable to commit to memory. I wanted to share them with you in order that a) they might assist you in your growth in the faith and b) that it might inspire you to read John Owen’s work and be the better for it.

The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin.

The mortification of indwelling sin remaining in our mortal bodies, that it may not have life and power to bring forth the works or deeds of the flesh is the constant duty of believers.

The vigor, and power, and comfort of our spiritual life depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh.

Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it while you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.

May these be of great benefit to you in reminding you to stay strong in the fight against the flesh. May the Lord grant you victory in the coming week.

Soli Deo Gloria

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Why Catechism: Theological Laziness

It seems that there are few other pursuits that require such a little working knowledge than that of Christianity.

– Paul Watson –

Introduction

I have quoted my friend Paul Watson before, but I believe that the accuracy of his statement is poignant and worth repeating until it awakens the senses that the church has a real problem on its hands. Perhaps this quote was further engrained into my memory a couple of Sundays ago as I was commissioned to preach and teach at a church in south-eastern Kansas. As I concluded the sermon, on the Superiority of the Priesthood of Christ, the reaction of the audience was everything but enthusiastic and thankfulness to God. The congregation seemed completely disengaged and unaffected by the joy and blessing of having our salvation secured in the eternal priesthood of Christ as preached in Hebrews 5-10. Unfortunately the attitude did not stop at the end of the service. As I began the college sunday school class, we started with the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism which asks, “What is your only comfort in life and death?” As I started to work through the answer, evaluating each line and asking why each phrase was a comfort in life and death, I was met with an obstinate attitude and the question, “Why are you making us think?” Surprisingly this is not the only time I have encountered this question in the church or even in a college setting where thinking is your occupation for 2-4 years.

What follows in this post in strictly an evaluation of the current problem. In order to learn my proposed solution to this problem, you will have to wait for the following 3 posts. For, in order to understand the significance of a change in tactic, we must understand the position in which we currently stand. Please understand, the position in which we currently sit is by no means a pleasant one to deal with, but believe me when I say that there is hope and that it is completely within the means of the church.

Theological Laziness

It is evident that the level of biblical knowledge or theological clarity in the church is poor at best. However, it is not absent, which is a silver line in this otherwise gloomy cloud. But what is meant by theological laziness? By the use of this term I wish to communicate that the lack of biblical literacy in regard to the individual is not due to a lack of resources, for certainly we have an abundance of biblical/theological resources available to us in America. However, there is a growing trend of aliterate congregants in the church. That is to say, they have the tools and resources available to them to learn and grow, yet they willingly choose to not use them.

For an illustration of this point it is beneficial to pull from the experience of Dietrich Bonhoeffer when he attended Union Theological Seminary in 1930. It is telling that the experience had by him there is not all that different from our current position in the church. Upon observing the students there, he once wrote to a friend:

There is no theology here…they talk a blue streak without the slightest substantive foundation and with no evidence of any criteria. The students – on the average twenty-five to thirty years old – are completely clueless with respect to what dogmatics is really about. They are unfamiliar with even the most basic questions. They become intoxicated with liberal and humanistic phrases, laugh at the fundamentalists, and yet basically are not even up to their level. (Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 101)

This is the first aspect to the term “Theological Laziness”. The second aspect is what some have coined as ‘Parroting’. This is stated to denote those individuals who only quote and repeat books, systematic theologies, or the ‘right’ preacher and theologians. Rather than being fluent in the Scriptures, developing theological convictions from that, and using Scripture as the basis for checking theological systems, they rely on what certain individuals have said. While this may mean that they have a large understanding of theology, they are not much better off than those who choose not to learn because they fail to base their theological convictions on Scripture. (This is not to deny the value of Theologies and books however.) Further, the person has not spent time wrestling with Scripture and relying on the Holy Spirit to illuminate their understanding of Scripture. Again, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words are beneficial in this regard as well.

Not only quietness is lacking, but also the characteristic impulse towards the development of individual thought which is brought about in German universities by the more secluded life of the individuals. Thus there is little intellectual competition and little intellectual ambition. This gives work in seminar lecture or discussion a very innocuous character. It is more a friendly exchange of opinion that a study in comprehension. (Ibid., 104)

In case the individual plight is not sorrowful enough, the situation in the church is not much better. Preaching in the church tends to be shallow, application driven speeches rather than preaching Christ and Him crucified every Sunday. Further, hearing deep theology from the pulpit is a rarity these days. In the 1920’s and 30’s the church was hit with a wave of ethics and sociological centered preaching where the sermon was replaced with a message responding to the news paper and the ‘fundamentalists’. (Thank you Harry Emerson Fosdick). Further, due to the liberal emphasis in the church that arose, the Bible was subject to malicious attacks under ‘higher criticism’ that sought to discredit much of what Scripture tought on life and salvation. With this assault from the pulpit, many congregants forgot catechism or theological instruction and the emphasis on applicatory sermons was driven to such a degree that J. Gresham Machen stated there was no Christianity left to apply. Since that time, true Gospel preaching, preaching Christ and Him crucified has become rare or absent. Again Dietrich Bonhoeffer encountered this.

Things are not much different in the church. The sermon has been reduced to parenthetical church remarks about newspaper events. As long as I’ve been here, I have heard only one sermon in which you could hear something like a genuine proclamation, and that was delivered by a negro (indeed, in generally I’m increasingly discovering greater religious power and originality in Negroes). One big question continually attracting my attention in view of these facts is whether one here really can still speak about Christianity….There’s no sense to expect the fruits where the Word really is no longer being preached. But then what becomes of Christianity per se? The enlightened American, rather than viewing all this with skepticism, instead welcomes it as an example of progress. The fundamentalist sermon that occupies such a prominent place in the southern states has only one prominent Baptist representative in New York, one who preaches the resurrection of the flesh and the virgin birth before believers and the curious alike. In New York they preach about virtually everything; only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life. (Ibid., 106)

This situation has resulted in two pitfalls for the church. First, the church has become infested with false teaching and errant theology. Men have arisen in the spotlight preaching a false gospel that tickles the ears and have gone virtually unchallenged as they feed the self indulgent tendencies of mankind. Second, the congregants of the church have eroded their defense against false teaching by failing to be well versed in the truth. These two pitfalls have been the reef that many a ship of faith has wrecked upon. Pastors unconcerned with the diet of their sheep have produced sheep who care nothing of their diet. The watchmen of God’s flock have failed to keep watch and have allowed the wolves of false teaching into their pasture with the result of their anemic, defenseless sheep being devoured.

Born Out of Sunday School?

What is the root problem of the current situation? For years the church has implemented the Sunday School technique as a way to curb theological laziness and illiteracy but have the actual results matched the desired impact of the program?

Ken Ham in his book Already Gone explored this very question and found this: “Sunday School is actually more likely to be detrimental to the Spiritual and moral health of our children.” Perhaps this is due to the fact that Sunday School has not aimed to be as theologically accurate as it has aimed to provide an age appropriate story time. This is how Ken Ham described Sunday School.

In the hallways, the kids will split up by age and be welcomed into classrooms full of laughter and life and hope. Teachers will embrace these kids as if they are their own for about 45 minutes. They will pour their hearts and souls into the children and teens with the help of videos, various curricula resources, Bible stories, crayons, crackers, CD music, computer graphics, flannel graphs, white boards, cookies, cotton balls, popsicle sticks, prayers, and pipe cleaners…It all looks so safe and healthy – an inseparable part of the fabric of spiritual life in the western world. (Ken Ham and Britt Beemer, Already Gone, 37)

However, his findings completely demolished previously conceived ideas about the Sunday School program. According to his study, students who regularly attended Sunday School were more likely to: not believe that all the accounts/stories in the Bible are true/accurate, doubt the Bible because it was written by men, doubt the Bible because it was not translated correctly, defend that abortion should continue to be legal, defend premarital sex, accept that gay marriage and abortion should be legal, believe that God used evolution to change one kind of animal into another, view the church as hypocritical and believe that good people don’t need to go to church just to name a few. (Ibid., 39)

Conclusion

It would appear that the church’s effort to build the faith through Sunday School has not produced the desired result. In reflection upon my own experience with Sunday School, the accounts of Scripture were notoriously portrayed in a ‘fairy-tale’ manner rather than a Historical, Redemption fashion. As a result, when trials came later in life, the ‘fairy-tale’ approach left me with little to no foundation to fall upon and almost resulted in the shipwreck of faith. Indeed for some this lack of a proper foundation has resulted in just that.

Obviously, the Sunday School method is not the sole culprit to this condition. To look at this method alone and place the whole blame upon it is naive. It is a combination of factors that has led to this current situation, which will be addressed in later posts. Further, it is unwise to criticize a particular method without a plan to carry out in its place. Accordingly, in the following post (next Monday) we will cover the importance of theological knowledge and how methods certainly play a role in the success or failure thereof.

For now let it be said that I do believe that the Sunday School system needs an overhaul and in the coming weeks I will lay out an exact plan as to how this current mess we find ourselves in can be remedied. Perhaps it is time for the church to return to a historically proven method “forged through a kind of wisdom and life experience gained during an era in which Christians were less apt to simply react to the secular agenda and uncritically imitate its glitz, glamour and noise.” (Kim Riddlebarger, The Need to Recover the Practice of Catechism)

To read the Introduction to the Catechism series Click Here.

Why Catechism: An Introduction

1563's edition.

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What do Zion’s children know these days? How steeped are they in the solid joys and lasting treasure that rightfully belong to them as heirs of the kingdom? We may be saving up for their college or material inheritance, but are we passing on the inheritance of the faith? Do we greet the Lord’s Day as a gift of communion with the Triune God as we taste the powers of the age to come and soak up the water of life together with the saints? Do we use it as a day to be swept into the new creation, or as just another day on the calendar of this passing age? At a time when we’ve put so much emphasis on new programs, strategies, and techniques for spiritual and numerical growth, we need desperately to recover the neglected practice of catechesis in Christian homes and churches. – Michael Horton, “Trees or Tumbleweeds”, Modern Reformation Magazine, pg 12.

If you are like me and grew up in the church, you probably remember your Sunday School classes growing up. Further, upon recollection, you may notice that there was a tendency to paint the accounts of Scripture in a more ‘fairytale’ sort of fashion. Hence, when you grew up and entered your teen years and encountered life’s problems, the stories probably did little for you in the way of solidifying your faith at those times.

Today, the church in America faces a tremendous problem among its young people. Hordes of young people are leaving the church when they hit high school or college. The root of the issue is that they have not been properly brought up in the faith. Essentially, the church has failed to “Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching”, “commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”, and “contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.” (2 Timothy 1:13, 2:2; Jude 3)

Further, it appears that a minimalist approach has been taken towards the education of both new believers and children in the church. Rarely is the question asked “how much should I teach”, but rather “how little do I need to teach” is often the preferred question. All too often the retention of the happiness of members is emphasized to the detriment of diligent theological teaching. Not only do clergy give into this, but those in the pew as well. Quite often the attitude toward disciplined theological learning is one of disinterest or reluctance. They either believe it benefits them nothing in their everyday life (though nothing could be farther from the truth) or they believe that diligent theological education is out of their reach and only for ministers. Unfortunately this is not a new problem for the church. During his pastorate at Kidderminster in 17th Century England, Richard Baxter charged his congregation with this:

Were you but as willing to get the knowledge of God and heavenly things as you are to know how to work in your trade, you would have set yourself to it before this day, and you would have spared no cost or pains till you had got it. But you account seven years little enough to learn your trade, and will not bestow one day in seven in diligent learning the matters of your salvation.

It may be argued that it is natural to place so much time into learning a trade for by that trade you earn your living, while theological learning is beneficial to those who seek to make a living out it. Yet, theology is not a matter of making a living, it is a matter of God making dead men live. J.I. Packer pointed out the extreme importance of this when he wrote,

If we do not preach about sin and God’s judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Saviour from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from self and the sorrows of this world, we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible. We are in effect bearing false witness and preaching a false Christ. Our message is ‘another gospel, which is not another’. Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Saviour from sin will not be found to save from self or from anything else. (pg 164, A Quest for Godliness by J.I. Packer)

It is of utmost importance that the Church begin passing on the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3) We must not waste another moment to begin this great work. This is where the catechism comes into play. In conjunction with Scripture, a catechism sets to teaching doctrine in a Question and Answer format equipping the believer with not only the theological knowledge, but its Scriptural basis. These catechisms start with the condition of Man and move through Scripture to topics such as: God, Sin, Christ, Christ’s Atonement and the Church. Through repetition and diligent instruction catechism are often memorized and become a common basis of fellowship among believers.

I believe that the route of Catechesis is the surest route of succesful teaching of the Scriptures and Doctrine to children and new and old believers alike. With the catechism, there is no big production or heavy emphasis on entertainment which can be hindrances more than aids to teaching; it is the believer and their Bible communing with God and learning the particulars of their Salvation. I know that this word ‘catechism’ immediately brings the Roman Catholic Church to mind, but in the coming weeks I shall dispel that notion from your thinking. I am afraid that the church, having stepped away from a formal instruction in faith, has subjected generations of believers to a view of God and Scripture that is man centered and self-promoting because after all, it is all about ‘what Scripture says to you’.

For the next four weeks I will write a series of posts regarding this very topic and why it is vital to church stability and maturity. First we will cover the current theological laziness of the church. Second, I will write on the importance of doctrinal knowledge. Third, I will cover the language of the faith and its necessity to the Christian outside of pastoral ministry. Finally, I will cover samples of the Heidelberg catechism to demonstrate its depth and ease of use in the church.

Below you will find the three most common catechisms of the reformed faith. Take some time, read them over, and dwell on the simplicity of their structure yet the complexity which they teach. These will come of great use in the coming weeks.

The Heidelberg Catechism

The Westminster Larger Catechism

The Westminster Shorter Catechism

Ministry Update

Since its inception, the ministry of Solid Anchor has been to ‘Evangelize the World and Reclaim the Church’. Work on the latter half of the goal is ever-growing and continuing as I preach wherever the Lord gives opportunity. This aspect of ministry is vital due to the large-scale issue in the church of a lack of dedicated, serious believers. Too many in the evangelical church either know little or nothing of their faith, live world consumed lives, or they have become overwhelmingly passionate and zealous without a basis of true Biblical Theology. The work of ‘Reclaiming the Church’, which is stated in such a way to highlight the work of exposing and correcting false teaching, will continue as long as the Lord leads.

As for the former aspect of the ministry, there really has not been a time where doors opened for the evangelization of the world for me. For much of my walk with the Lord unfortunately, the extent of ‘evangelizing the world’ existed solely in the realm of ministry and missionary support. However, the realization of the goal to evangelize the world is coming to fruition in recent days.

For the longest time I knew specifically that I was to plant churches, but whether that was to be here in the states or overseas, I never really knew. Within the past couple weeks, through the preparation of a sermon, I was deeply convicted through Scripture and prayer that I have a duty as a follower of Christ to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, meaning wherever He deems appropriate to send me, no matter where it may lead. Whenever I thought of missions and the possibility that I may someday take part in it, I always thought it would be nice to be in Europe. Indeed a society that was predominantly post-Christian would have proven challenging, but being in Europe would have had many pleasant benefits (not that those benefits are wrong). This changed though as I was preparing a message on Suffering for Christ based out of Philippians 1:29. The conclusion of the message was the suffering in the believer’s life was a gift from God that is to be accepted with the same joy with which we accept our Salvation. The burden throughout the message was that there is an estimated 6,000 unreached people groups and roughly 1,ooo,ooo,ooo people who have NO opportunity to hear the Gospel. This means that there is no church, no missionaries, scarce Christians, etc. The church has talked about these figures for years, yet scarcely anyone is going to these fields. Where are the men and women of God who will rise up and count their lives cheap for the Gospel of Christ?

It is imperative to me that I never preach a message to a people without being willing myself to follow through on the application of God’s Word. This is where the challenge for me came. I researched people groups, where they were located, the progress of reaching them, and sought to challenge the people to whom I was preaching to action. This is where I faced myself; rather, God showed me what I was to do and asked if I would practice what I preach. I would not say that I was given the ‘Macedonian Call’ but I was convicted and convinced by Scripture and God’s work in me through prayer that I am to plant churches overseas.

With most the unreached people groups living in the Asian part of the world, I began to look there and it was little time till I was moved towards Central Asia. Central Asia is composed of five dominantly Islamic countries that used to be part of Communist Russia; Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Kazakhstan has some amazing things happening as God works through Missionaries there, and believers are being added to the church each day. As for the other four countries, Christianity is among less than 2% of the population; for 3 out of those 4 it is less than 1%. This part of the world seems to be ‘forgotten’ as there is little mission work among them (confirmed through several conversations with missions agencies). The unique situation for each of these 4 countries lies in the fact that they are Post-Communist, Islamic dominated and Restricted Access (meaning that you cannot enter the country under the title ‘Christian Missionary’ but must enter through some other means such as TESOL and once you are in, your Christian work must be carried in a careful fashion). It is to this part of the world I have been burdened with.

I know not the specifics of what the Lord will do there. I know that in seeking to minister and bring the Gospel of Christ to a people who so desperately need to hear that I will most likely face severe opposition. I know without a doubt though, that the Lord will be with me. There are indeed many unanswered questions, but as I move forward peace is coming. Undoubtedly there is much to be done here in the church in America and I will continue to encourage, exhort, rebuke, correct, preach and minister in the church in America as long as the Lord allows, but I dare not stay here in the states permanently as people in Central Asia die in Islam without the knowledge of Christ.

Therefore, pray for me as I seek a Missionary Agency, continue to develop in this calling (specifically which country), seek out seminary training and wisdom as to how to enter the country He calls me to. There is much to look forward to and many new things to learn from the Lord. I am excited and at the same time humbled by this calling.

For the Souls of Men and the Glory of God

Soli Deo Gloria

Thanksgiving

O My God,Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects, my heart admires, adores, loves thee, for my little vessel is as full as it can be, and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up, ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed, ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart, crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created, for adorning it, for sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;

for the body thou hast given me, for preserving its strength and vigour, for providing senses to enjoy delights, for the ease and freedom of my limbs, for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;

for thy royal bounty providing my daily support, for a full table and overflowing cup, for appetite, taste, sweetness, for social joys of relatives and friends, for ability to serve others, for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities, for a mind to care for my fellow-men, for opportunities of spreading happiness around, for loved ones in the joys of heaven, for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express, for what thou art to thy creatures.Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

-The Valley of Vision: Thanksgiving Prayer-

Happy Thanksgiving from Solid Anchor Ministries!

 

London Fog: A Lesson in Patience

Have you ever been in a situation in which great patience was required of you, yet during that time of patience, it was hard to do so because you were in what seemed like ‘London Fog’? It is in these times when trusting the Lord is exactly what we are to do, yet doing so is very difficult because we cannot see what is going on, or perceive how things will transpire. In these situations, we often jump to the conclusion that because we cannot perceive the end of the matter, the Lord must not be leading us in that direction. However, this may not always be so. The ‘London Fog’ may be a time in which the Lord wants to see how far you will trust Him and what you will relinquish control over in your life. Are you willing to trust the Lord even when the path is hidden from view?

I recently ascertained that I am typically not a very patient person in the long run. What I mean by this is that after a certain time of waiting, waiting seems to take on a heavier weight. That “moments seem like days and days like lifetimes” feeling sets in and being patient seems impossible. Currently, as I face such a situation, the Lord has brought to my attention 6 particular verses which I will share with you and allow to speak for themselves.

“Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act, making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday. Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him.” – Psalm 37:4-7a

“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on the rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” – Psalm 40:1-3

“Wait for the Lord; be courageous and let your heart be strong. Wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:14

“Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land.” – Psalm 37:34a

“I wait for the Lord; I wait, and put my hope in His word. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchman for the morning.” – Psalm 130:5-6

“We wait for the Lord; He is our help and shield. For our hearts rejoice in Him, because we trust in His holy name. May your faithful love rest on us LORD, for we put our hope in You.” – Psalm 33:20-22

I believe that these verses are pretty clear as to what we are to do with patience. We wait expectantly, committing our way to Him, trusting that He will provide, and keep the way that He has shown us. That is it. If you truly commit your way to the Lord, trust Him, placing your hope in Him and wait expectantly for His decision, He will act. However, please note that this is not a way in which you can gain whatever you wish. In the place of submitting and committing your way to Him, there is no room for selfish desires. Waiting expectantly for Him means that you have unreservedly placed your situation into His hands and are committed to His plan. Finally, it is important to understand that being patient does not mean that God will always direct toward what we believe He should.

I realize that at times it can be enormously challenging to be patient, but I also realize this, after much prayer: I would rather wait expectantly in committing my way to the Lord and be lost in the ‘London Fog’,  than to be entirely unsatisfied by my own efforts. I take heart in Psalm 37:5 which has been committed to memory simply due to the amount of times the Lord has brought it to my attention while pleading with Him. It has been a constant reminder that in the particular situation I find myself in, that He alone will open doors because my efforts are not His efforts, my ways are not His ways, and my wisdom is not His wisdom. He alone is directing this path and I must wholeheartedly place my trust in Him for whatever duration He deems appropriate.

Soli Deo Gloria

Silent Before the Lord

“Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him.” – Psalm 37:7

When was the last time that you were silent before the Lord?

In our society, we are driven to have noise in some form of the other throughout our day; from the radio or iPod at our desk while we work, the TV on while we eat dinner, to our music while we study and read. Our society has even devised miniature devices that aid us in never being without our music or favorite podcast. As a result, we find silence unsettling; often putting us on edge, or to sleep.

Therefore, when we read a verse such as Psalm 37:7, we brush over it and think nothing more of it. “David just didn’t have the technology we have today, so he didn’t understand” may be our mindset when it comes to it. However, I think this misses what David was saying. Afterall, he was King; silence was not the easiest thing to come by for him. (Think of our President’s job for an insight) That is what makes this statement so interesting to me. Here is undoubtedly one of the busiest men in the known world and he is encouraging others to be silent in their time with the Lord.

Ponder this for a second.

What does your quiet time consist of? Do you find yourself talking the whole time you are praying? Do you ever wait patiently to hear from Him? My guess is that you are like me, and you do talk the entire prayer and very little time is spent in silence (if any at all) meditating on Scripture or waiting for the Lord’s reply. We fill our quiet time with our favorite Christian music, our thoughts, our words, our prayers, without any consideration to what the Lord says, let alone taking the time to allow Him to speak.

Sure it would be easy if he always spoke in a loud, attention-getting way, but this is not always how our Lord works. The problem in expecting the Lord to always speak in a way that grabs our attention is that is removes our responsibility to listen to our Master. It entails that we just go about our merry way, doing our own thing and every once in a while turn his direction when he grabs our attention. What a tragic way to handle our relationship with our Creator and Savior!

Perhaps, further still, it is not a matter of forgetting to listen but more of a refusal to listen. Is it that you don’t want to hear what He is going to say, because you know what He is going to say? In this case, don’t pray for more light, pray for more obedience! Some of you have known for years what He would or is calling you to, yet you try to silence Him believing that this removes culpability from you. Do not be foolish! Trying to silence the Lord will not work (if for no other reason than that He cannot be silenced), considering you are trying to mute what you have already heard. You know what He wills, yet you refuse to acknowledge that He has called you to it. Delay no longer, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act, making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday.” (Ps 37:5-6)

I think it would do us well to learn how to be silent before the Lord; meaning, no music, no phones, and no talking on our part (physically, or in our head). Read a text of Scripture and simply pause in order that your soul may be quieted and the still small voice of the Lord may be heard. We need more Christians who are humble enough to shut their mouths and allow the Lord to speak! The object of prayer and scripture reading is not for our opinions and plans to be confirmed but to conform our opinions and plans to His opinions and plans. However, this cannot be done if you never give time to learn what His opinions and plans are.

Therefore, be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him. Trust Him, He will act.