Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Silence in a Noisy World, needing to be alone with God

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, 
you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 4:8

There may be times when God seems far away. You may feel as if your prayers go unheard. James said there is a simple reason for this and a solution. If you are far from God, it is because your sin has separated you from Him.

God is unchanging. His character stays absolutely holy. His faithfulness remains constant; it is we who change. We allow sin into our lives. We choose our own direction. We spend less and less time with Him in Bible study and prayer. Then one day we realize that we have gradually grown distant from God. The solution, according to James, is straightforward. We are to draw near to God. As we realize our need to be closer to the Father and we begin to return to Him, He meets us even as the father hurried to greet his prodigal son (Luke 15:20).
Drawing near to God requires you to take two actions. First, you must cleanse your hands (Isa. 1:15). You must cleanse your way of living. If you have been actively engaged in sin, you must renounce it. If you have done anything to offend or hurt someone, you must make it right. Second, you are to purify your heart (Ps. 51:10). You must make certain your attitudes, thoughts, and motives are right in God's eyes and are in harmony with God's Word. Jesus warned that you cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). It is impossible to love anything else as much as you love God and still please Him.
If God seems distant, do what is necessary to cleanse your hands, purify your heart, and draw near to Him.
- Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

There's the reasons outlined by Blackaby here but still there are other, beneficial, reasons why it may appear that God is silent.  Yes, flagrant sin, idolatry and other intentional sins can put up a barrier between you and your Savior.  But what if the real reason is that in all the noise in your life He wants some quiet time with you?  In more than one place in Scripture it mentions being still and knowing that He is God.  To just sit still. How often is it written in Scripture that Jesus got away from people to be with His Father? Isn't that also being silent?

My biggest, at least from my perspective the biggest, thing that I did that messed up my walk with Jesus was when I figured that I had His Plan for me all figured out. I let go of His hands and took off running for it.  Only to spend decades recovering from the subsequent disaster.  

How often have we been that kid who got excited and got away from our parents and were reprimanded for it later?

Getting ahead of God often results in quiet times.  

Then there's the times of healing that He imposes upon us.  I know there are people that to get them to shut up you have to force them to sit on their hands.  They just can't speak without them!

Look back at history. Mankind is easily manipulated by Satan to be impetuous. 

In both a reaction to sin in someone's life and the need to heal in someone's life, silence is often necessary to clear the mind to make it receptive to the teachings to come. 

I remember teachers refusing to get started until the class was quiet.  You think that's an original idea?  God has been doing that since Adam and Eve!

We are certainly like that joke about talking with a dog.  The dog listens right up to the point of...SQUIRREL! Then it's a constant battle to regain its attention. 

We read in the last chapter of Jonah of him running away.  Flip that.  God Got him alone for a conversation. Not everything is as it seems.

We indeed are in need of time-outs.  We let anger and rage get the best of us when it's God saying to hush, be still, to that storm within.  

Paul in the book of Acts, really faced pretty much every reason to lash out in anger and rage at his fellow Jews.  Today we would honestly consider that there's something wrong with him. He's bottling up his emotions.  He's going to explode one of these days.  Every psychological reason except the Biblical one.  Why? Because the noise of the world has been overwhelming the quiet time with Jesus. 
Read what his accusers were saying.  That his extensive training has driven him mad.

People both within the body of Christ and outside of it do not know what the Holy Spirit is doing in YOUR life.  When you remove the comedy aspect of it.  Look at the technical side of the post op room activity in M*A*S*H.  The job of the Doctors and Nurses in there was to assure a calm environment for healing. 

We get ahead of Jesus. We think we have figured life out. We get into scrapes.  We, as Blackaby wrote, might indeed have sin in the way.  We may have let go of His hands and gotten ahead of Him. 

We may have deep seated anger that He WILL get you to release.  He did with me. 

Jesus still is working with me and on me. He's exactly as He describes Himself.  Gentle.  He is also the epitome of persistence.  We go through time. He stands outside of it.  He's got all time He needs to wait for us to come around to His way of thinking.  Often in those episodes we saw wounded soldiers not listening. They made the wounds worse.  They let fear rule out. 

In Christ we have nothing to fear.  Not our world, our employer, our families or anyone we meet or know. 

What is your situation?  Is it sin or healing?  Silence by choice or by necessity?  Do you ever get away to be with Jesus?   Do you only talk to Him when you're in trouble? If that's the case you're already in trouble.  Do you refuse to let go of something in your life?  Remember He already knows, and now that you know He knows, He will patiently wait for when you either will obey or His timing says now you WILL obey because it's going to mess up the work He is doing in you or others. 

Be in prayer.  Be open and real with yourself and God.  It's when you deceive yourself that you do the most harm. 

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