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Lent: First Listen to God

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

(John 7:18, NAS95)

I find Jesus fascinating. He lived as the ideal man: God’s intention for each of us. The context shows Jesus teaching in the temple and people struggling with accounting for the wisdom, or maybe atmosphere, flowing from His words. The conversation indicates an amazement that seems to belittle His message: “How could these things be coming from such an untaught person?”

God’s word to me as I read this passage stung my soul in the most non-threatening and profound way. At first, I asked myself, “Who do I want to glorify when I speak or teach? Me or God?” Of course, I noticed my self-centeredness in my response: I want people to have enjoyed what I share. Bingo, I’m in the middle of that. Now that does not mean I don’t want God glorified through what I’d share; quite the contrary. Yet more often than not, I’m more concerned about me than anything else. Second, and this part stung the most, the one who seeks to paint a picture of God’s fantastically loving presence, with no thought to self-aggrandizement, does not possess any unrighteousness in that moment. I don’t believe that describes me. Somehow, though, I sensed the Spirit wooing me toward transformation. Jesus, the ideal man, declares this, not just for Him, but anyone. Clearly He spoke of Himself here, but it remains true for me (and you), too.

As I listened to this scene and watched Jesus among His detractors, the Spirit massaged my heart and gently asked, “From whom do you receive your insights? What underlies your need to declare them as yours?”

Reading and re-reading the text enveloped me in a whispered love that spoke deeply: this is My design, that like Jesus, you would share from the source of My presence with you.

So, I return to prayer. Jesus listened to the Father, then spoke, and people entered God’s presence, a very different space than life as usual. The wafting of God’s words to me through the text pointed to seeking first the King and His Kingdom, just as Jesus did. In another place, Jesus says, “I can’t do a solitary thing on my own: I listen, then I decide.” (John 5:30, The Message) I need to live into the same space Jesus did and listen for God’s leading—and not just when I speak.

As this season of Lent continues, the Spirit reminds me that I need to resign from my ways and listen to God’s.

Warmly in Christ, Doug Mitts

For Reflection

“God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones He confides in.” (Psalm 25:14, The Message)

  1. How does the busyness of your day distract you from the presence of God’s whispers to your soul?

  2. What makes you feel most connected and available to God’s desires?

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