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"You've Got Mail"

“You’ve got mail”

Many of us hear those words each day as we log onto the internet to check our e-mail. The phrase was also popularised 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 tortoiselike connection speed of 14k? 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 5:6). The apostle Paul speaks of hearing from God and being taught of God (Gal 1:2). The Old Testament tells us that our ears will hear a voice behind us saying, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isa 30:21). And the story of Elijah tells us of the “still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) or “gentle whisper” 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. For many of us, our ability to discern His voice is perhaps slow and faint – similar to the 14k modem. But as we persist in hiding His written Word in our hearts, and practising His presence, we cultivate dialogue, developing a more “broadband” type of connection with the Lord. Impressions, insights, dreams and visions all become clear as we stay “logged on”.

Jesus said in John 14:26 “the Counsellor, 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” (John 15:4). “Remain.” What a great word! To paraphrase it, “Stay online 24/7).” In practice this means cultivating an intentional preoccupation with Jesus as we live our lives and go about our daily schedule.

In Luke 10:38 Martha invites Jesus and His disciples into her home. While Martha is distracted with much serving, her sister Mary sits at the Lord’s feet listening to His teaching. Martha complains to Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me.” But the Lord answers, “Martha, 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” (vv 40-42 RSV).

This passage highlights our tendency to emphasize “action and doing” over and above “being and listening”. Jesus said that Mary had chosen the “good portion”, emphasizing that nothing, not even hospitality and service, is more important than a readiness to be still and know Him. Unfortunately it’s all too easy to be distracted by the demands of our culture – especially a culture that projects goals, action and results as its highest values. Even our churches fall prey to this mentality, and we’re driven to respond to every need that arises. Many times “the good” becomes the enemy of “the best”.

Let’s be reminded once again to carve out time in our lives to simply sit at His feet. And as we go about our daily routines, let’s stay logged on to the Holy Spirit, progressively learning to be led by Him through the adventures of this life. Psalm 95:7,8 declares “Today if you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

(Paul Baloche)

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