We really are different.
If you were here on Sunday, we talked about this idea: “Real joy doesn’t come from making more of the world about you, but by making more of you about the world.” This is a really different idea.
You see, even many who claim to be thinking about others are doing so with selfish motives. Many of those I’ve come to know who claim to be doing things for others are really only storing favors for future use. If you can get someone in your debt, then when you need something you have a favor to call in.
Others who claim to be thinking about others don’t do so to store up favors, but are doing so to make you think they are that kind of person. They’re not doing it because they think of others, but to make others think a certain way about themselves.
There are other motivations too, but those are some of the biggies.
But, we’re not that way.
This is important as we go through this season of prayer. We’re not trying to earn favors, or trying to make the world think of us a certain way. We are trying to be more like Jesus. We are trying to be more like God designed us to be.
It’s important because, to know what God wants us to be doing now to be ready for what’s next, we have to be in a receptive state. If we’re not in the right state of mind as a church and as individuals, we won’t hear God’s whisper.The key to hearing a whisper.
To hear the whisper of God’s voice, that little voice that tells you which way to go, we have to get rid of the other voices that might drown His voice out. When the world is loud, we can’t hear God. When our own selfish voice is screaming for attention, we can’t hear God. The key to hearing a whisper is not to make the one whispering speak louder. The key to hearing a whisper is to shut off the other sounds around you.
It’s like a dandelion after it becomes the fluffy thing full of seeds. It’s small and fluffy. The wind blows and the seeds get carried off into the unknown. When they’re all together, you can see the round, puffy collection of seeds. But, when the wind blows and carries the seeds off individually, it takes a great deal of concentration to be able to see just one of the seeds. It would take a great deal of effort to follow one of those seeds and see it fall on good soil and watch it grow into a plant. It would be too easy to be distracted by the big trees, the tall grass, the dense bushes in the landscaping or the dense blackberries. And yet, this is exactly what we need to do. Stay focused on this one seed, this one idea God has for us and follow it where God leads us. That’s true for you individually too. Stay focused on the one seed of an idea God has for you, and follow it wherever God leads you.
That’s pretty important for us as a church. We have be able to hear God’s voice leading us. We don’t hear God’s voice by chasing what other churches are doing. We don’t hear God’s voice by competing with the churches down the street from us. We don’t hear God’s voice by trying to attain some sort of status. We don’t hear God’s voice by trying to be something we’re not.
We hear God’s voice by making the hearing of that voice the most important thing.
We hear God’s voice by turning down the volume on what other voices are telling us to do. We have to turn down the volume on what the world thinks our church needs to be. We have to turn down the volume on what people who aren’t invested in our church think our church needs to be. We even have to turn down the volume on what we think our church needs to be. Because at the end of the day, what I think or what you think church needs to be is not nearly as important as what God tells us our church needs to be.
We want the work of God to be on display around here. Not our own works and strategies. For God to get the credit for something, we have to make room for God to do something. If we’re too busy doing things that God never has room to move, how will God ever get credit for anything?
Real joy comes from making more of you about God and others. We must shut off the voices of our own selfishness. We must shut off the voices of the world screaming at us to do everything because we deserve it. We have to turn those input sources off so we can hear the whisper of God.