So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Romans 10: 17

Some days seem really noisy; for they are completely filled with surround sound quality words and images. Some of this is of my own choosing; as, I turn on the TV, turn up the car sound system, and read the signs along the road. Some of this is the new version of the natural harmonics of the earth; it is an always with us, fill up our auditory processes level of background noise that can saturate our minds with its persistence.

There is little that we can do about much of this. Sure we can turn off or turn down our own electronics and we can focus on the road ahead rather than the signs along the side, but there will still be all of the rest of it. What we can do is choose which voices and whose words we allow to have access to our minds and to our hearts. God talks to us during as much of the day as we will let Him. He answers questions and He speaks words that are encouraging, words that remind us of His eternal love for us. The challenge for me comes in my selection of input to tune in to and in my willingness to listen. 

God tells us to hear Him, for He does speak. God tells us to listen, for He has words of truth for us. This is where personal choice comes in; for me, this involves reading the bible, to take in truth from an unchanging source; it involves prayer, to engage in conversation with God; and it involves opening up my mind and my heart to let truth sink into the center of my being. Then, it involves the continual process of life-prayer; talking with God and listening to him speak through out the day. The Holy Spirit walks in my skin with me, and Christ speaks continually to me with words of truth, wisdom, and love that are His alone. My part comes in focusing my hearing on God’s voice. My reminder for the day is to listen.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Psalm 19: 1

 

This is such a great reminder of what it means to know God that I want to reflect upon this verse again this morning. It is still dark outside as I sit here at the keyboard and put a few thoughts down; yet the glory of God is present. It is tangible and real in the night sky, and it seems to saturate the air that surrounds me. My Lord is with me in every aspect of the world that surrounds me. He is even made known to my heart and my mind in the pre-dawn silence of the city streets. The presence of the Lord is real on days when things are going very well in my universe and it is just as solid on ones that I do not look forward to experiencing. God is consistent, and His consistency is spoken in love, care, mercy, grace, healing, and redemption. God touches the places in my spirit that need attention, and He sends me out into the day with the confidence that I require for the tasks at hand.

 

This is all made more noticeable as I take time and look around to see the wonder and the mystery of the expression of His hand in the world. God has written his story of life into His Creation, and He has scribed it onto the hearts of people as the centerpieces of that Creation. In fact, the presence of the Lord in the world is called out most noticeably by the people that dwell here and in the ways that they live out Christ in their day to day lives. The Lord takes each of us who will yield ourselves to His will, and He gives us a place in this world and a purpose to fulfill in His Kingdom. We are significant even when we are compared to the great expanse of the heavens. Each of us has meaning in God’s design for this world, and we have value to the Lord in the way that He desires to bring about restoration and redemption in the world.

 

It is important for us to not lose sight of this reality. Each person on the earth is important to God, and each of our lives matters to Him. Christ is here to save anyone who will turn to Him, and He desires to enter into the lives of all people regardless of what we may have done or how we might have lived in the past. Every person on this earth is a part of that great expanse that declares the work of God’s hands, for we are all the result of His divine creation and the product of the Lord’s hands. So, as I look around, even in the early morning stillness, I am surrounded by images, by faces, of the people that are the most significant and important aspects of the expanse that is the created universe, and Christ speaks love, grace, and understanding to me as His desired blessing to be conferred onto each and every one of these precious souls. So, blessing others with Christ’s presence is my calling for today as I go out into the world.

 

And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.

Ephesians 2: 17

 

If only people could learn to compromise. This is the exasperated lament of many of us today as a vast array of big issues remain unresolved and without solution. I do hold that there is much to commend the practice of compromise when it comes to governance and the management of society. Yet, I think that there is something else involved in the way that God would see people learn to live together peacefully in this world. The Lord doesn’t call upon us to compromise; rather, He desires for us to move away from our tightly held positions on everything and move toward Him and His singular point of view on all that we think, feel, and do.

 

In order for us to do this, we need to start to function in a manner that is like the one that God uses with us. God listens well, and He hears what we are saying both in the words of it and in the emotion that is behind those words. He also knows us in a manner that goes deep into our hearts and minds, and even with this knowledge, which includes our darkest secrets and our doubts and fears, the Lord still seeks to engage with each of us. He pours out His love, grace, and mercy upon us as He also brings the full weight of His truth and righteousness to bear upon our choices and decisions. In Christ, we find God’s great love in direct contact with humanity’s abandonment of relationship with our Creator, and the purpose of that contact is redemption and the reconciliation of our lost bodies and souls to God’s absolutely loving presence.

 

So, it seems that the real and true starting point for resolution of all that is difficult and to the conflict in our world is Christ. The strife, violence, and loss of our world will cease only when Christ returns and reigns over the restored order of creation that will become the new and eternal world at that time. However, that should not stop those of us who know Christ from living today as He would have us live. That would mean that we would seek to apply the truth of God’s Word in its totality to all that we think and do and also that we would strive to hear all others well and to attempt to get to know them in a deep and real way so that when we listen to them we can actually hear what is being spoken to us. This also suggests that we would be bold and brave enough to hold fast to what is non-negotiable from God’s perspective while inviting Christ to be our anchor point of truth and belief. In this world where disagreement is our common language, Christ speaks forth a different dialect as He leads His people into the conciliation of peace and the restorative hope of His grace and love.

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Romans 12: 16

 

Harmonious living in the body of Christ is a very different creature than the concept of harmony that is often portrayed in our culture where it is frequently discussed in terms that relate to compromise. It is expressed in the idea of not making waves, of seeking the middle ground, and of peaceful coexistence. These ideas sound good and the image of the calm, restrained communication that should result promises a more civil society. Yet there is a flaw in this idea, for we humans don’t actually function well in this sort of environment, and honesty, truth, and righteousness suffer under the requirement to surrender God’s values to the world’s ethics.

 

It seems that there are two primary requirements for remaining true to God’s word while continuing to live in harmony with others in the world. The first involves an attitude of total submission. We need to remain continually humble before the Lord’s mighty capacity to communicate accurately and honestly and our own flawed skill in this area. Christ speaks to our hearts and into this world with language that demonstrates His total love and His willingness to go to the lowest of places and to embrace the least lovely of people in order to bring them into the presence of God. We need to continually realize that each of us is the recipient of this sort of absolute grace; then, we need to give it, in Christ’s name, to others.

 

Next we should stay continually aware of the true source for all of our wisdom, understanding, and capacity to solve challenges and problems. Every skill, talent, and gift that I posses was granted to me by God, my Creator. The wisdom that forms the foundation of my thinking comes from His word, and any ability that I have to understand and to apply that wisdom comes as a result of the instruction and the guidance that God’s Spirit continually provides. The Lord does want to see people living in harmony; however, His harmony is focused on truth and righteousness, and it is centered on Christ.