You've Got Mail
- 2004 15 Jan
"You've got mail." Many of us hear those words each day as we log on to the Internet to check our email. The phrase was also popularized by a movie of the same title a few years ago. Remember when the only option to connecting to the World Wide Web was through a phone modem with a tortoise like connection speed of 28k? Then we expanded to 56k. Then to cable, broadband, and DSL—suddenly we could download volumes of information in seconds with the simple click of a mouse.
Learning to hear the voice of God occurs in a similar fashion.
The New Testament commands us to "walk in the spirit" (Gal.5: 16). The apostle Paul speaks of "hearing from God" and "being taught of God" (Gal. 1:12). The Old Testament tells us that our ears will hear a voice behind us saying, "This is the way: walk ye in it" (Is.30: 21). Isaiah points us to 'the still, small voice" of the Lord.
God is always speaking to us. Our hearts can be likened to a modem, picking up on the subtle impressions and whispers of the Holy Spirit. At first, our ability to discern His voice perhaps is slow and faint, similar to our 28k modem. But as we persist in hiding His written word in our hearts and cultivating a 24/7 dialogue, or as someone said, "practice His presence," we seem to develop a more "broadband" type of connection with the Lord. Impressions, insights, dreams, and visions become clearer as we stay "logged on." Jesus said in John 14:26, "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit...will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you." A few verses later He gives us the secret or "password" to hearing from Him. "Remain in me." Remain. What a great word. Paraphrased, that means "stay online 24/7 to my spirit." Staying online requires cultivating an intentional preoccupation with Jesus as we live our lives and go about our daily schedule.
In Luke 10:38 it is recorded that Martha invited Jesus and His disciples to her home.
And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are so anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her." (RSV)
Figuratively speaking, Martha seems to represent the busy, active, extraverted side of our personality and Mary the receptive, introverted side. This passage highlights our tendency to emphasize "action and doing" (Martha) over "being and listening" (Mary). Jesus says that Mary has chosen the "good portion." Jesus seems to be emphasizing that nothing, not even hospitality and service, is more important than a readiness to "be still and know Him." To wait upon Him. Jesus says, "One thing is needful," and that is to "BE" with Him and to listen for His "still, small voice."
Unfortunately, it is too easy to be distracted by the demands of our culture. Especially a culture that is driven by that which it values most-goals, action and results. Even our churches fall prey to this mentality as we are driven to respond to every need that arises. Many times "the good" is the enemy of the "best."
In the coming days, let's try to emulate Mary and carve out time in our lives to sit at his feet. And as we go about our daily routines, let's stay logged on to the Holy Spirit, and progressively learn to be led by His Spirit through the adventure of this life. Psalm 95 declares, "Today if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts." You've got mail!