On Friday, November 11, 2011, LTi is hosting an event at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary entitled “Re-Ignited: Kindling Your Inner Fire for God” with special guest speaker Chris Webb (and yours truly). In anticipation of that event I am focusing my weekly blogs on the topic, “What are the winds that blow toward your soul and seek to extinguish your inner flame for God?”
Part Eight: Inability to Listen Well…to God, to others, and even to ourselves. A closed or clogged up soul is unavailable for and inattentive primarily to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Is your soul a listening and attentive soul? To listen well is to give heed to, pay attention to. It’s at the heart of the gospel message, for God the Father said of Jesus, “This is my son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7). Jesus told his disciples, “Pay attention to how you listen!” (Luke 8:18, NRSV). And, long before Jesus spoke these words, Moses told the people of God, “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him” (Deut. 30: 19-20).
So how is it that we pay attention to the voice of Jesus? We are his followers, and he is like a shepherd to us (John 10:14). Therefore, we’re invited and instructed (as his wooly followers) to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and not to a stranger’s voice instead. So often the eyes and ears of our heart get distracted by the images and sounds of other influencers of our soul. Each of us are susceptible to those influences that lead us out of a posture of attentiveness to God and entice us instead to be led into pastures that keep us from flourishing in heart, soul, mind and strength.
All of the seven previously mentioned “winds that blow toward our soul and extinguish our inner flame for God” – our enemy the devil, our prideful self, the idols of our heart, our busyness, the abundant accessibility of technology, our unattended heartache, and our Sabbathlessness – lead us into the inattentiveness of our soul and the invitational voice of the Good Shepherd.
So what will be your response? The prayer of my heart is that all who are called by God into an intimate fellowship with him will indeed listen attentively to the loving, forgiving, grace-filled, life-transforming voice of the Good Shepherd. Jesus longs to lead us beside quiet waters, refresh our souls, and guide us along right paths for his name’s sake (Psalm 23). For surely his goodness and love will follow us all the days of our lives, and indeed we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!