Above the Noise
"You just don't understand!" the teen-ager screamed at his dad. "Why can't you see where I'm coming from?"
"I'm trying to, son, but you're just not making any sense."
"Well, you're not listening to me, then," the teen replied. "I make perfect sense. You're the one who doesn't make any sense. You never listen to me. You still treat me like a kid."
"Like I said, I'm trying. Please help me understand. Tell me again why it's a good idea to let you going camping alone with your girlfriend this weekend?"
Who hasn't been on one end or the other of that type of conversation at some time in their life? Teen-agers and their parents are notorious for their less than ideal communication. However, the parent-child interaction isn't the only one that suffers from good communication at times. Every relationship goes through the struggles of understanding and being understood, but that struggle is worth it.
Communication is a key to any relationship. When communication is good, the relationship flourishes, even in tough times. When communication is bad, a relationship suffers, even in the good times.
When someone is hurting, we can communicate feelings of forgiveness and healing. We communicate our love and affection to others. We communicate disappointment, we communicate anger.
Whether its with your spouse, your kids, your parents, other family members, friends, business associates, co-workers, or acquaintances, without good communication the relationship suffers.
It's no different in our relationship with God, either. For our relationship with God through Jesus Christ to develop, grow, and be healthy, we must have good communication.
It's interesting to look at the word communication and communion and to find the commonality of these words, the word commune. To commune means to engage in intimate conversation. Communion is to share in a common, mutual participation; to fellowship, to share our thoughts and feelings. Communication is to impart or transmit thoughts and ideas, to be connected. When we communicate with God, we're communing, sharing, participating, and fellowshipping with God
The essence of communication, the reason we try to communicate is to have a communion, a oneness, a connection with the one we are trying to communicate with. A relationship that brings satisfaction, peace, calming, and a refreshing to our souls!
Isaiah 40:28-31 says: "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope (wait) in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says to us: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
God created us to fellowship with him. The purpose of man is to have a relationship with him. Throughout history, God has done what he needed to do to commune with us - to remain available to us in a personal relationship, as evidenced by what Christ did for us on the cross.
One of the things we have to guard against, then, in our all our relationships is miscommunication and misunderstanding. Good communication makes sure that the one on the receiving end is understanding the message being sent. We all bring pre-conceived notions and assumptions into our relationships that can lead to misunderstandings.
Communication involves two components for each party involved: The "giving part" and the "receiving part." Experts that teach communication skills mention several things to keep in mind: 1) The message sent is not always the message received. There is a) what the speaker intended, b) what was actually said, c) what the listener heard, and 2) Every message has content and feeling.
Most christians know how to be on the giving, or speaking end of communication with God. We've been taught how to pray (see Matt 6:9-13,the Lord's prayer and I John 1:9 - "if we confess..."). Reading Psalm 51 reveals David pouring out his heart to God after his sin with Bathsheba.
But, we have a much harder time with the receiving, or hearing part. Why? We can pray (speak) in our cars, homes, work, almost anywhere. Listening, really listening and hearing, however, takes more effort. Speaking is easy, listening is hard. We can speak without thinking, and many people do :-)!!! We know how to ask God for things, even good things he wants to bless us with. But hearing him speak to us is the hard part.
For example, when the boy Samuel of the Old Testament heard God speak to him audibly, he was confused. It was not unitl Eli realized God was speaking to Samuel and got him to wait on the Lord that Samuel was able to listen. He had to learn the voice of God and wait for him.
We need to do the same thing. We need to determine in our hearts that we will take the time to wait on and hear from God. "Be still, and know that I am God..." (Psalm 46:10). "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul..." (Psalm 23:1-3)
Be still, and know that I am God!
There's too much stimuli in our society - it's hard to break free sometimes to quiet our spirit, to quiet the inner man enough to be still before God. Romans 12:1,2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, but we can only do that by disengaging from the frantic pace of life. The hustle and bustle, the to and fro we find ourselves in the midst of must be quieted. Once we are transformed, or changed by the renewing of our minds, we'll be able to test and approve God's will. Who wouldn't want that?
In John 10:27 Jesus said: "My sheep hear my voice..." When we minimize distractions, we can better hear his voice. Sometimes we may need to hear his voice above all the noise around us, but it is much easier to hear his voice when it's the only voice being spoken.
How do we hear his voice? By practicing being quiet before him. Listen for his voice and confirm it with his Word. God will not contradict in your heart what he's already revealed in his Word.
Jesus took times away from his public life, from his ministry to the masses and from His disciples, to be alone with the Father. He had just fed the 5,000, then sent the disciples ahead of him. Why? He went alone to pray! (Matthew 14). When he was troubled, he went to Gethsemane, and again left the disciples to pray. (Matthew 26).
It's amazing sometimes the thoughts we have, the ability to hear God's voice, the impression of God's direction upon our hearts when we get away from all the distractions. Still the noise in your life!!!
Be still, and know that he is God!
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Excellent teaching. Thanks for the reminder. Kathy