Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hearing God: Focus On the God-Relationship

Bolles Harbor on Lake Erie, Monroe

I suspect that many would like to hear God speak to them for the sake of guidance. While this is one aspect of hearing God, it is far from the only aspect. Hearing God is far richer and more textured than that. And hearing God is itself one aspect of the deeper, more inclusive Jesus-life.

Dallas Willard writes: "Hearing God is but one dimension of a richly interactive relationship, and obtaining guidance is but one aspect of hearing God." (Willard, Hearing God, K125)

Willard's strategy and counsel is to focus on cultivating the God-relationship, out of which hearing God will emerge as a byproduct. For example, it's our ongoing, sustained relationship that provides the environment for Linda and I to really hear and understand one another. When it comes to hearing and understanding God the same relational rules apply.

Willard writes:

"Ultimately, we are to move beyond the question of hearing God and into a life greater than our own—that of the kingdom of God. Our concern for discerning God’s voice must be overwhelmed by and lost in our worship and adoration of him and in our delight with his creation and his provision for our whole life. Our aim in such a life is to identify all that we are and all that we do with God’s purposes in creating us and our world. Thus we learn how to do all things to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31; Col 3:17). Learning the two-way communication between us and God will develop as a natural part of such a life." (Kindle Locations 81-86)

To learn to hear God don't focus on learning to hear God. Instead, focus on the most important thing, which is: "You are an unceasing spiritual being, created for an intimate and transforming friendship with the creative Community that is the Trinity. Learning to hear God is much more about becoming comfortable in a continuing conversation, and learning to constantly lean on the goodness and love of God, than it is about turning God into an ATM for advice, or treating the Bible as a crystal ball." (Kindle Locations 87-89)