by Bill Byrnes
“Seek good and not evil, that you may live.” Amos: 5:14
Have you ever wondered, “Does God talk to me–or anyone?” My answer: YES–he definitely tries to COMMUNICATE with us. Hope you caught the distinction between “talking” and “communicating”. The reason is that it might be easy to overlook His attempted communications with us if our attitude is to wait for that super, deep, “heavy” Ten Commandments type of voice. Instead we should just settle back and observe events and realize that certain things might not have occurred without His intervention. At the least, if we ask Him for something, or if we have a question, we should be ready to receive his answer. Of course, we know he works from his timetable on ALL things. But, I’m sure, sometimes, he can take our timetable into account. For instance, I’ve known several people who have asked God if they should marry that certain someone. I’ve also known people who ask His advice on making major purchases. Even though these questions might require immediate “assistance”–you never know. Answers might take a lot longer than we can imagine. Rest assured, if you talk to God–HE DOES LISTEN. So understand that even a “non-answer” has meaning!
“He does listen…”
We could think of examples all day long. But I must also assert that there’s another “player” lurking in the shadows– you guessed it–Satan.
We know that Satan is a great deceiver. It’s not difficult to infer that Satan would love nothing more than to trick us into thinking that the communication we’re getting is from God — when in reality–it’s from him!
He wants nothing more than to trick us.
The next question, then, is –how do we tell the difference? How do we know if it’s God or Satan? The answer is pretty easy to find. And, where do we go for that answer? It’s the same place we go for any and all answers–the Bible!
There’s no guessing as to the meaning of this passage from Mark: 9:7: “And there was cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud saying, ‘This is my beloved son–LISTEN TO HIM!”. During this “transfiguration” God, himself, proclaimed Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and that his word constituted the new law. We were to LISTEN TO JESUS from that moment on!
“LISTEN TO HIM”!
That was easy to establish. However, not all answers come to us is one concise sentence. We’ve established that Jesus is our source for any knowledge–next question how do we use knowledge from Jesus to decide if any “communications” we receive are from God or Satan? This, also, is not difficult, but it’ll need a little more explanation.
It would be easy for me to say, “Just read the parables”. But that isn’t the answer. True, Jesus’ parables give tremendous depth to his philosophy, however, there has got to be a simpler, all-inclusive way to apply his teachings–and there is!
Matthew:22:36-40: “Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all they mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment. And the second is LIKE UNTO IT. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets!”.
I don’t think it can get any simpler than this! This was an incredible, very God-like”, achievement. Jesus actually took the voluminous contents of Mosaic law and converted them into two simple rules that could be remembered by the uneducated, illiterate, minds of the common folks of that epoch.
What I find very interesting about these two laws( laws = commandments) is that laws usually govern ACTIONS. But these dictate the way people must think– BEFORE they act! It’s as if Jesus knew that he was giving us a way out of our predicament of deciding our titular question–God or Satan?
I could put volumes of examples together–I won’t. Instead, every time, and anytime, you think it’s God who’s talking to you–subject it to the test of Jesus’ two great commandments: does your action show, or demonstrate, your love of God–the actual feeling of LOVE–not just obedience? Next–is your action something that you would approve your neighbor doing to you–or to your family?
You can “take it from here” regarding any more examples. If your comparison isn’t clear–then PRAY before committing any action. Don’t forget what I said earlier about “non-answers”. If that’s where your path leads–be cautious. If God needs time to give you your answer–who are you to rush him? Above all, don’t forget the “third player”-Satan! He always has quick answers–quick and very costly. It’ll take all eternity for you to pay his price!
“What is the greatest commandment?