“His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’“ — John 2:5
The story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding feast is a familiar one to those of us who have grown up in church or attended Bible studies. It is the first of His miracles as He begins his ministry. Verse 11 tells us that this “was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” And we wonder in amazement at His power and how He uses it to bring about faith in others, but there is another message here too.
Jesus’ mother Mary is also present at the wedding feast, and she is the one who brings it to Jesus’ attention that the wine is gone. Jesus asks, “Why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” (v. 4), but Mary turns to the servants and tells them, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
Whatever He says. Do it.
She understood, as we should, a valuable principle of His voice and His character. God does not speak simply to be heard; He speaks to be obeyed.
I have shared with you over these last few weeks the riches and promises that I have learned as my small group went through Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. The study is done and we have discussed the text backwards and forwards, but there was still a few truths I was compelled to share.
He has revealed truths about how to hear His voice and distinguish it from others. He has shared different aspects of the character of His voice- it is persistent, it is personal, it brings peace, it will challenge you, it exudes truth, and it comes with great authority. And finally, He speaks for us to better know Him, to understand His will and His plan, and finally (and perhaps most importantly) to be obeyed.
Obedience. Personal responsibility required.
He speaks; we obey. It really is that simple, but it’s not simple is it? When He speaks, ACT! Don’t think on it. Act on it! We must be committed to a heart of obedience.
Priscilla expounds on this idea- “When God speaks to you. He is asking you to make a commitment. Not just to be willing to obey, but to actually follow through. Actually obeying His voice lays the groundwork for Him to continue making His will known to you- not because He relishes playing the role of controlling father-figure, coldly demanding your compliance- but because He desires to bless you with His most special gifts, including deeper intimacy with Him. He knows what is best for you, and He only requires that you obey in order to experience it.” (pg 182)
That hit me right between the eyes. Because honestly, I had to take a hard look at myself and my obedience meter. I had to ask myself– Jamie, how often do you think you ask God’s opinion when all the while you know full well that you are sticking to the plan you have come up with on your own?
Hmmmm mmmmm. More often that I thought.
This is a dangerous game we play; this act of disobedience. And this is one of the main reasons that hearing His voice can become so difficult. He is not going to do a whole lot of speaking into the life of those who are dedicated to disobeying Him. And once we have practiced that pattern of disobedience, we become more and more desensitized to His words, to His moving, to His stirrings in our Spirit. “So even when He is speaking, that hardened and dulled heart of the rebellious doesn’t sense His holy prodding or pick up cues from the Scripture. They easily discard any conviction from Him and misinterpret His written word in order to justify their chosen course of action.” (pg 183)
Oh, what a dangerous game! What a slippery slope to a hardened and dulled heart that is no longer softened to His stirrings.
Scripture says “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” — James 4:17 NLT. It is sin! It is a sin to know what He is speaking and then to ignore and not do. It is a sin unto our Holy Father when we choose disobedience.
So, what does obedience look like?
True obedience is wholehearted, all-in mentality, a willingness, an accepting heart, and most importantly, an utter and total confidence in God. That He is love, and He is good. These are not simply character traits of God, they are innate; His very being. And to those who wholeheartedly obey Him, He makes this special promise– “I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” John 14:21 NLT. Priscilla explains that the Greek for the word “reveal” here means: to exhibit, to appear in person, to declare.” I don’t know about you, but I want in on that blessing! I want in on that revealing!
The second part of this wholehearted and trusting obedience is timing. How do we obey? When? Priscilla weaves us in and out of the truths in the story of Abraham. Oh what great truths are hidden there!
Can’t wait to share more with you…
Have a blessed day!