May 13, 2008

Obeying God's Voice

Do you ever have those times when you sense God is telling you to do something you don't want to to, something inconvenient, and you have that battle of whether or not God was telling you to do it? Henry Blackaby calls this struggle in Experiencing God a "crisis of belief." Let me tell you something that happened to me this morning...

I left home for work. I had to be at a staff meeting in about 20 minutes. As I turned on a road not too far from home, I saw this guy running down the side of the road with a gas can. It was about 1/2 a mile from where he was to the next gas station. I was right up next to him, pretty much past him, when I saw the gas can in his hand. Until then, I wondered why he was running because he was in jeans and a work shirt.

As I drove past him, I sensed, I should stop and help. Then I thought of all the reasons not to: I had to get to work, I would have to turn around, someone else would probably stop and help, etc. I was comfortable to see a person in need and keep on driving. Ironically, I was listening to worship music on my ipod and singing praise to God at the time. I thought "How ironic that I am singing 'Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation..." while I was letting someone in need pass right by me. I thought about Jeremiah 29:13 when God says, The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men." I also thought how much I am like the Pharisee and the Levite instead of like the Samaritan.

As a matter of fact, most of the time I am very comfortable being a Pharisee. It fits my personality much easier. It's a whole lot easier to know the rules and expect people to live up to them than it is to love God with all my heart and love my neighbor as myself. Love is inconvenient, and costly, and time-consuming. I wear the Pharisee garment so much I have become very accustomed to it.

So what did I do...I heard the voice of God clearly say, "You will sit there and sing to me and see your neighbor in need and tell me that it's too late, someone else has already picked him up. What a loser." (God really didn't say that last part, I think I did. So I turned my truck around in the middle of heavy traffic, waited at the red light, and went back. I told God the whole way that he wouldn't be there, and wouldn't you know it, he was. I pulled up and said, "Hey, need some help?" I gave him a short ride to the BP, waited on him to fill his can, and then gave a short ride back to his truck. It took about 8 minutes of my day. 8 lousy minutes. How sad is it when I struggle giving 8 minutes to God to serve my neighbor? He was very thankful and I was very ashamed.

I don't tell this story so that people will say "Matt's such a great guy for helping that dude." Truth is, most of the time I pass people on the side of the road, homeless people looking for help, and just walk right by. After a few seconds, the Spirit quits speaking and I can keep my 8 minutes for myself. It's the easy thing to do. I tell this story because I found out the hard way today that obedience brings peace. When we stay sensitive to God's voice, then we conform closer to Christ's character. I only hope from now on, I follow through sooner.


Cabes said...

this is exactly what has been on my heart the past several weeks, great post. Thanks.