Have you ever wished that God would speak to you face-to-face so you could know what to do? Have you ever said, "I need a word from the Lord!"? Doesn't that sound like it would make serving and obeying God much easier? A direct encounter with God during which He spells out His will for your life didn't work for Gideon, however, and it may not work for you, especially if your mind is focused on your less-than-ideal circumstances. To prove my point, let's return to look at the life of Gideon in this week's Memo.
CAN WE TALK?
One day Gideon was busy trying to eke out a living when the Lord appeared and spoke to him:
The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior" (Judges 6:11-12).
What was Gideon's response? Was he in awe and didn't know what to say? Did he worship? Did he ask the Lord what He wanted him to do? No, he did none of those things. Instead he basically said, "Can we talk?" Gideon took the opportunity to complain and tell the Lord how bad things were in his life!
Gideon had a direct word and appearance from the Lord, but he was so preoccupied with his situation that he didn't treat it like the special event that it was. Fortunately, that did not deter the Lord, who went on to reveal why He had come and what He wanted Gideon to do:
The Lord turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?" "But Lord," Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family" (Judges 6:14-15).
Once again, Gideon turned God's directive into a time to complain, telling the Lord why he, Gideon, could not be the one to do what the Lord was saying. This is a good example of how your thinking work against hearing and doing God's will, which is why Paul pointed out that doing God's will and personal transformation are both hinged to changing the way you think: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2).
IT DIDN'T MATTER
It didn't matter to Gideon that he received a direct word from the Lord. He was so hung up on his circumstances and limitations that he could not see how God could use him. In reality, a visit from God almost turned into a bad experience for Gideon.I am sure you have never done what Gideon did in this instance. If you have, then you know firsthand that even a visitation from God isn't always the answer to your spiritual inactivity on uncertainty. Once you have a negative attitude, you can't hear or receive from the Lord!
This week, ask the Lord if you are acting like Gideon in any area of your life. If you are, then find out what God has been saying that you can't hear or receive because of your heart attitude. The good news is that Gideon went on from this encounter with the Lord to do great things and you will, too - but only if you change your mindset so that you can receive and not fight against the word of the Lord for your life. Have a great week!
PERSONAL UPDATE: You can read my reflections on the first month of 2016 on my blog.