Are we listening to God and doing what he says?
Pastor Scott posed this question during his sermon last weekend and it’s one that we need to keep asking ourselves. Sometimes it can be easy to answer yes–we are spending time in God’s Word and responding to what he prompts us to do. Other times we struggle with the answer, realizing it might be no–we get caught up in our daily routines and spending time devoted to listening to God goes by the wayside.
In Acts 8:28-40, we hear about the story of Philip and the Ethiopian court official. An angel of the Lord told Philip go down to the road between Jerusalem and Gaza, so Philip went and there he heard the Ethiopian man reading from the book of Isaiah. The Spirit told Philip to go over to man, which he did. As they spoke, Philip got to share the good news of Christ which led to the man’s conversion and baptism.
Though it may be hard to relate to Philip who both gets clear direction from the Holy Spirit and is instructed by an angel, we can put ourselves in the shoes of the Ethiopian man. As he is leaving Jerusalem where he went to worship, he is in his chariot reading a scroll of Isaiah. He is being intentional about interacting with the Word of God. We can do the same, especially since we have a great advantage compared to this man as we have the convenience of smaller or electronic Bibles. What is stopping us from plugging our phone into our car’s AUX cord, and listening to the Bible on our way home? We need to create habits of listening to God’s instruction through the Bible so we will be equipped to handle both small and large decisions each day.
We also learn from the Ethiopian man that it takes perseverance to listen to God and respond well. The odds were against him due to his distance from Jerusalem, his race and his circumstances but he gave his best effort to follow God. We may find that it feels like the odds are against us as our lives are busy and hectic, and we feel run down or weary. As much as it may seem difficult, these are the times when we need to give the extra effort to spend time reading the Bible and being in communion with God because he can lighten our burdens and refresh our souls.
As we listen to God and respond to his calling, we are transformed. Just as it takes time for a seed to grow into a plant, it can also take time for us to bear fruit in our lives. We need to constantly remain near to our source of life as He develops and transforms us.
This week, let’s put our busyness aside and spend time in our Bible considering what God is communicating to us, taking action to do what he says.