I suppose the height of egomania is to assert that one knows what God is saying. To read and comprehend what He says in His written Word is one thing but to have the ability to, with clarity and confidence, sense what He says to one’s spirit is necessary but a little trickier than we would like to believe.
Does God say what I want to hear?
I know of an individual who currently is at odds with her family. The way this person wins is by being assured that God is on her side. According to her, He totally agrees with her and He has chosen to send special messages through her to the rest of the family about how wrong they are. Kind of tough to argue with God! Here’s the thing: her attitudes and behavior assure everyone that she is not hearing from God and, if she was, He would not be on her side.
It is easy to listen to God as long as He agrees with us. When God operates within the confines of our preconceived ideas, our world is a safe and predictable place. When God’s voice is familiar, when He says the things we expect Him to say, there is order. Even when the things we perceive Him to say are hurtful or negative, we can manage that, because it is what we have come to expect. I believe the problem is, we sometimes put words into God’s mouth.
While trying to go to sleep the other night, I decided to try to just lie still, be quite, not pray, just listen to what God was saying to me. My instant thought was, “He probably has a bunch of things that I could do better on, areas of my life and things that I am doing for Him on which I could improve.” I am wondering why my first thoughts of His message to me were negative. What is it in my emotional chemistry that assumes that God is looking for the chance to increase the pressure I am facing, that He is not satisfied with me, that there is more I can do to make Him happy with me? In this instance, God fell in line with my insecurities and came under the control of the things that have attempted to control me all of my life. Pretty obviously, God does not play that game.
I am glad to tell you that I was soon able to clear my mind of the idea that God was standing over me measuring how high I could jump. Some additional thoughts came to mind. I got an idea for a message or a book or an article. The title of Themes of His Essays came to mind. I began thinking about the major concepts of the things that the Holy Spirit communicates to His people. What is the essence and character of God all about, anyway? This is where the egomania kicks in again, assuming I can capture the essence of God. But recall, God has chosen to reveal Himself to us, He wants us to know His character. He shows His personality to us. We can, in part, understand what He is about. So I began thinking about concepts like: Grace. Love. Mercy. Treasure. Compassion. These are the great themes of God. This is the message that God has been speaking to humankind since creation.
This is not to say that I am doing a great job with the responsibilities that God has given me or that He is giving me a “thumbs-up’ on my performance for Him. He knows, I fall way below the bar for acceptable production in the Kingdom. But I just can’t see God as the One who is laying the burden of “do more, work harder, perform at a higher level” on my back.
I also realize that judgment is part of God’s responsibility. But His primary connection with us is hope. Even conviction of sins has as its goal, forgiveness.
Try just listening. Maybe you’ll hear some things that I didn’t hear. Maybe as I grow, I will also hear some different things. Just maybe one day, I will get a “not bad, kid!” out of Him. That would be progress.