Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Obedience II: Quiet

Obedience, I am finding, is everything.

In the young years of Samuel’s life, the things that opened the door to the miraculous in his life was a series of acts of obedience.

Hannah being obedient to her vow to the Lord.
Samuel being obedient to keep the lamp of God burning, even when the high priest failed to do so.
Eli heeding the Word of the Lord as received from Samuel that fateful night.

But how did these people actually hear the Lord? It was recently noticed by a good friend, Elizabeth Carpenter, that I had written a blog about ‘Listening’, and then one about ‘Obedience.’ She noted how appropriate that was since one must be listening to God to be obedient to Him.

Her observation was quite impressive to me and got me to thinking.

What precedes listening?

The answer came to me in the still of the morning: quiet. It takes quietness to be able to listen (to be able to be obedient.) We must get quiet before the Lord to be able to hear what he has to say to us. The best example of this is what happened this morning during my prayer time.

It was blustery with wisps of drizzle in the dark of the morning.

When I got there, the cold breeze carried tiny beads of rain to my face. It was perfect to keep my senses sharp and attuned to the quiet. I began to pray several times, but I felt God say to me, ‘would you stop that already?

This confused me momentarily, but I fell quiet again. That is when I sensed that God was speaking to me along the lines of an Emerson quote I had recently read.

"What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." Emerson

God echoed this in my spirit. He said,

‘I need you to learn how to be quiet. If you can learn to be quiet, you can focus your thoughts. This is key, because I need you to be able to listen to My voice in the middle of the crowd; in the middle of chaos. You have to be able to hear my voice at all times. Even though the masses will be loud and speaking, if you can learn to quiet yourself and listen, even in public in the chaos, you will be powerful indeed.’

That being said, I picked up some material on Smith Wigglesworth and found that this was one of his secrets. It was also the secret of Brother Lawrence. It was the secret that Jesus used in front of his accusers.

Other observations of quiet are that the quiet brings vision. When you are quiet, it allows clarity. It allows God to speak in a way that you know that you know He spoke. When that happens, He can speak direction to you. And when God speaks direction, vision comes.

I was very intrigued by these thoughts. Suffice it to say that today I practiced being quiet to hear the Lord to be obedient.

My most significant observation is how quickly being obedient to God will place you in uncomfortable situations! (He told me to tell one girl that I did not know that He loves her.)

The second observation came just as quickly: how we let faithless fear get in our way; how easy it is to be disobedient. (I did not speak to that girl.)

If I truly believed that God was speaking to me, if I were confident that it was the creator of heaven and earth, I would have been obedient.

But faithless thoughts prevented me. (Are you sure that is God? How can you be sure it was Him? Do you know His voice well enough? That is just wrong socially! Don’t do it.)

If Christians got gut-level honest, they would admit to these same thoughts.
Just the same, if Christians got gut-level obedient, we would have a revival on our hands.

Here is to waking up tomorrow, and mustering the courage to a) be quiet, b) listen, and c) be obedient!

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