This blog focuses on the quest to know and please God in a constantly increasing way. The upward journey never ends. My prayer is that this blog will reflect a heart that seeks God and that it will encourage others who share the same heart desire.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Serious Communication

Recently I have been reading the devotional book I authored for people with chronic illnesses. I do profit from reviewing those truths that were driven into my heart at an earlier time; I have a tendency, however, to read my writings through the eyes of another reader. That is, I wonder how others will be helped by the truth or anticipate that someone else would be challenged by it. One day this week, I was particularly challenged by the appropriateness of the truth for me personally. I read a couple of selections that were especially pertinent and required my consideration. This led me to talk to God about my heart and about my desired response before Him.

Communication is important in every relationship. Sometimes we conveniently assume the other person knows what we are thinking and feeling. We forget that reinforcement and reminders are needed. If we haven't said something in a while, it is easy for the other person to forget it, wonder if it is still true, or question whether it is still true to the same extent and fervency.

Sometimes it is uncomfortable to verbalize certain things aloud. The very things that are hardest to say, however, are often what most need to be said. The verbalization provides reassurance, comfort, confirmation, or clarity for the hearer. Formulating the thought enhances lucidity for the speaker, and actually stating the words reveals his level of seriousness. There is value in common, ordinary conversation about the details of life, but there is much more value in deeper, more personal conversation. Shallow conversation helps the relationship to function practically, but serious conversation deepens and strengthens the relationship. It demonstrates that something significant and meaningful exists.

We need to talk to God about our struggles and difficulty in the challenges of life. We need to express our frustration, discouragement, confusion, and desperation. We need to ask Him for His strength, guidance, and encouragement. We need to tell Him that we are looking to Him for the answers.
"Save me, O God, for the waters have threatened my life. I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold" (Psalm 69:1). "O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; make Your way straight before me" (Psalm 5:8).

We need to talk to God about what we want Him to do in us. We cannot accomplish spiritual growth on our own, so we need God's help. We need to talk to Him about our desires and ambitions, about what we want to be true in us although it has not happened yet. We need to recognize the areas in which we are weak and specifically ask God for help.
"Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statues!" (Psalm 119:5). "Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law" (Psalm 119:18).

We need to talk to God about the dark shadows of our hearts. We need to talk to Him about our pitfalls and besetting sins. We need to tell Him about the areas where we regularly struggle. We need to decry our wickedness, confess our sins, and ask Him for forgiveness, renewal, and restoration.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10). "I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide" (Psalm 32:5).

We need to talk to God about our submission to Him. If we are at all discerning spiritually, we realize that there are frequently areas in which we are not quite in line with God's desires for us. There are times that we focus on our own desires and stubbornly cling to our own preferences. We need to tell God that we are yielding to Him. When God convicts us, we have to talk to Him about our decision and even about the struggle to reach that right decision.
"Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth" (Job 40:4). "I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted" (Job 42:2).

We need to talk to God about our attitude toward Him. God is not insecure and is not dependent on our expressions of love and high regard, but of all people, He is most deserving of such statements. We need to tell God of our love for Him. We need to tell Him of our admiration for His attributes. We need to praise His goodness and His character.
"For You are my hope; O Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth" (Psalm 71:5). "I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You" (Psalm 9:1-2).

The Bible is filled with prayers and statements like those above from godly believers of the past, and such prayers should be a regular part of our lives as well. God is omniscient. He knows our heart and our thoughts better than we do. Nevertheless, God still wants to hear from us. He wants communication. The value is not so much for God as it is for us. We need to strengthen our side of the relationship by serious communication with God. We need the benefit that comes from clearly considering and actively verbalizing what is in our hearts. We need the grace that comes when we humble ourselves before God and say the things that God ought to hear from us.

Such communication cannot be scripted; it cannot consist of standard phrases that we habitually and mindlessly parrot. Rather, it must be fresh and regularly prompted anew. While reading the Bible or other devotional material, while singing or listening to music, and while listening to sermons, our hearts must respond, and we must deliberately verbalize that response. There are no secrets from God, but deep communication can strengthen and build the relationship, developing a special sweetness that comes when barriers and formality are removed.

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