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 either—especially if your mind is focused on your less-than-ideal circumstances. Before you can hear from Him, or comprehend the full impact of what He is saying, you may need to unlock the power of your thinking—the theme of this current series. 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." “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”(Judges 6:11-13).
What was Gideon's response? Was he in awe and didn't know what to say? Did he worship? Did he ask the Lord for more specifics around 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 it was. What's more, he told the Lord how wrong He was to choose him. 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 could not be the one to do what the Lord was saying. This is a good example of how your thinking can 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). The business of your mind is to think, so if you are going to renew your mind, new thoughts or ways of thinking must be involved.
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 the word from the Lord you have been wanting and seeking.
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 or mindset. 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 thinking so you do not fight against but instead receive the word of the Lord for your life. Have a great week!