April 5, 2012
Knock. Knock. Is Anybody There? Part 3
But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you,’ (Jeremiah 7:23 NASB).
Friend to Friend
Yesterday I wrote about my little neighbor who had a tendency to walk into our house whenever he wanted to. After teaching him to knock first, if no one answered, he’d walk in anyway. It was a fun story. If you missed it, you can read it on my blog at www.sharonjaynes.com.
So what do we do when we knock on God’s door and we don’t hear an answer right away? We looked at various options, but one thing is for certain, silence from God cannot be interpreted as a “yes.” “Well, God didn’t tell me ‘no,’ so I went on ahead.” That’s not going to work. It could be that God is waiting for us to obey what He already HAS told us, before He gives further direction.
Let me share a story about a time when God was silent in my life. After my sophomore year in college, I decided to take a break and work for a year or so. After the first year, I felt an urge to go back to college, but my prayer for direction was met with silence. So I continued in my job.
When the next spring came around, my desire to return to school resurfaced. The confusion about what to do and where to go resurfaced as well.
I went to visit a man who had been a spiritual mentor to me during my teenage years. I told him about my confusion about college. Mr. Thorp decided that we should read some Scripture about prayer before we prayed for God’s direction.
First he turned to Matthew 6:8-15.
“For your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray: `Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Then he turned to Matthew 18:19.
“’Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.’ Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Each time Mr. Thorp turned to a passage about God answering prayer, there was one about forgiveness either before or after it.
“Sharon,” he said, “I sense that God is telling you that you have unforgiveness toward your father. Is that true?”
I wanted to say, “Wait a minute. I came here to ask for prayer about my future, not about my past.” But God was showing me that unforgiveness in my past was blocking His work in my future.
I had a very tumultuous childhood. My father had become a Christian when I was twenty, but I had yet to forgive him for all the pain he had caused. I knew God had instructed me to forgive, but I had not obeyed.
So that night, I forgave my father for everything he had ever done. Really. When I did, God set me free, and my life moved to a new and deeper level with Him. (That is what God really wants from us most of all.)
Interestingly, the next day, the cloud of confusion lifted. I knew exactly what to do. I applied to college, was accepted a few months later, resigned from my job, and began classes in the fall. I met my husband four weeks later, and soon became his wife.
I am not saying that obedience in one area will make you’ll strike it rich, find the man of your dreams, or live happily ever after. However, I do believe that sometimes God’s silence is due to the fact that He is waiting for us to obey what we do know before He gives us more direction.
So go ahead and knock! Ask! Pray! But make sure that you are doing what you do know has told you to do first.
Dear Lord, I pray that You will show me any areas of my life where I have not obeyed or am not obeying You. I’ll admit, there are some areas You don’t even need to tell me about. I know I haven’t obeyed. There are things in my life that You’ve told me to let go of and I’ve held onto them. There are people that You have told me to reach out to whom I’ve ignored. There are steps of faith that You’ve called me to take and I’ve hung back. Show me, Lord. And give me the courage to live in obedience to what I DO KNOW, before asking for direction in areas that I DON”T.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Some of you are mad at me right now. I don’t blame you. This is a hard lesson. Philip didn’t like it and honestly, sometimes I don’t like it either. But I love you too much to tickle your ears with fluff rather than give you meat to chew.
So here we go: Is there any area of your life where you know that you are living in disobedience to God. Are you willing to make a change? If so, log onto my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes or my blog at www.sharonjaynes.com and write “yes” in the comment box.
More for the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from Sharon’s book, Becoming Spiritually Beautiful. To learn more about the keys to living fully and free found in this book, visit www.sharonjaynes.com. While you’re there, check out all the free resources!
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