The past week or so I have been pondering what it means to be not only a hearer of God’s Word, or his voice, but also a doer.
I was struck a couple of Sundays ago by a point made during the sermon on Matthew 7 (the parable of the builders). Namely, that the wise and foolish builders do not necessarily equate to believers and non-believers. As believers, we can be both type of builder: we become like the foolish builder if we hear God’s instruction and do not act on it; we are only wise if we hear and then do act.
Often I have asked God to speak to me, and asked that I would hear him. But hearing is only the first step; once we hear we must act. And often that is difficult. Thankfully we do not do it in and of ourselves, but it is ‘God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose’ (Philippians 2: 13). As we heard on Sunday, this verse demonstrates that God’s Spirit works in us not only to help us act according to his will, but so that we want to act in accordance with it.
So take heart- that thing that God is challenging you to do or to stop, but that you don’t really want to act on- His Spirit is at work changing you so that you will want to obey Him. However don’t wait around for a passionate desire to arise in you before taking steps of obedience. As we take small steps of faith in the right direction, God meets us there. As we begin to be concerned about the things God is concerned with, as we start to see him at work in ourselves and others, we begin to catch God’s vision; we taste something more of his goodness, and the Spirit uses this to increase our hunger to know more of God and his ways.
So not only do we need to be people asking for God to speak to us, but people ready to respond to that call: asking for soft hearts, open to the Spirit’s life-changing work within us. Remember that the God who is able to do ‘immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us’ (Ephesians 3:20) is the one who will transform us so that we desire to, and take joy in, acting according to His plans and purposes.