Focus: Being able to hear God’s voice and be shown His way
2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth.
At times, God purposely allows us to go to a low spot—a valley of decision, where He is sure He has our full and undivided attention. If we aren’t willing to listen any other way—He takes us to a place away from the roar of the crowd where our ears can be properly tuned to hear His voice. It is in this place of seeming despair that we might possibly be quiet enough to hear Him. While thinking we are in a period of depression—it might just be that God is at work in His own way—getting us into a condition where He can speak to us and we will hear.
Many people who have been called into the service of the Lord heard His voice at a time when their life was at a crossroads. They might have come to that turning point through no intention of their own—but suddenly or eventually—they realized doors were closing that they never dreamed would. When everything looked impossible, they felt the Lord’s presence in a way like never before. Because their heart was tender—they were able to feel a special touch from the Master.
It is my personal belief that people who have been through a lot of temptation and failure are perfect candidates for the Lord’s work—if they have realized they are nothing without Him. The knowledge that you are ‘nothing’ is exactly what you feel–when you are the closest you have ever been to the Lord. In His presence—where there is no question about the fact that we are completely weak, we become totally empty of ourselves. Because of that emptiness–we are able to be filled with His strength and power.
God doesn’t want to use our strength. He wants to use our weakness—so that His limitless power will be made manifest in our lack of power. All of our shame is washed away as our faults are covered in the blood of Jesus and we realize we are just another sinner saved by grace.
You may think you are failing because you can hardly stand on your own. It’s when you have nothing left—that you are ‘just right’ for God’s purpose. If you are at a place of particular weakness right now—good for you. You are ready and able to hear from God. Be listening for His voice. Be watching for revelation. He has things to say and plans to unfold. The only qualifications God needs in order for you to meet His approval is that you are teachable and willing to be conformed to His image, filled with the Holy Spirit, and able to handle the Word of God properly.
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The best thing you can do right now to prepare yourself for what He has for you—is to feast at His table. Feed on His Word. Let it fill you even in the driest desert—you are able to draw from His well that never runs dry. Drink from His cup. There are wonderful words of comfort and encouragement waiting for you. If you don’t know where to start, try meditating on the following Psalm that has given hope to so many people when they were desperately discouraged. Try to visualize it in your mind as you read it:
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. –Psalm 23 (NIV)
If your plans have not turned out like you thought they would—it doesn’t mean you aren’t going to have a meaningful, fulfilling life. All—and I mean all of my plans fell through before I was willing to give God complete control of my life…and I had a lot of plans. I had to reach the point where nothing was working—before I was willing for God to lead me to His plan. If He hadn’t closed every other door, I’d probably still be trying to do what I thought would work best. Now I know my life has one purpose. My purpose–and yours, is to be available to follow where He leads—and to go through the doors He opens. Some doors I would like to go through—He closes. Other doors I may not choose—He takes me through.
If you are willing to say, “Show me Your way, Lord—that I may walk with You”…He will surely show you. If there is any part of you that is holding back and is unwilling—He will wait until you are ready. Truthfully, He will let you continue in a prolonged ‘wilderness experience’ because you are still trying to find your own way ‘out’. Deliverance soon comes when you stop looking for the exit and say, “Show me Your way”.
Declaration: I will find new strength by working at being emptied of myself. I will concentrate on the words of Psalm 23 and keep my ears tuned to hear my Master’s voice. I am willing for Him to show me His way.
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