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Communicating with God, Part 1

• Greg Boyd

Do you ever wonder how a person “hears” a word from God? People speak about prayer as “communication with God,” but how is it that someone listens to God? Greg addressed these questions by beginning a two-part sermon on “Communicating with God.”

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Do you ever wonder how a person “hears” a word from God? People speak about prayer as “communication with God,” but how is it that someone listens to God? Greg addressed these questions by beginning a two-part sermon on “Communicating with God.”

Greg stated that fundamentally communication is the essence of any relationship. This is especially important as the church begins the “Growing in the Spirit” campaign. The church is stepping out in faith. God has directed the church to take this step, and the church believes that he is able to accomplish this goal. Greg challenged us to pray about our role in the campaign. Seek God’s will. We must prayerfully consider our part in accomplishing the vision. However, Greg’s challenge raises the question, “How do we hear from God?”

Greg shared three biblical principles that help to answer this question (he will share four more principles next week). First, listen to what God has already said in his Word. This is the foundational principle for discerning God’s will. A great deal of his will has already been revealed in the Bible. For example, a woman does not need to seek God’s will about whether or not to forgive a person. The Bible already tells her that she should forgive. In addition, a man does not need to search for God’s will regarding whether or not it is okay to be unfaithful to his wife. The Bible already tells him that he should be faithful. The Bible tells us a lot about the kind of person we should be regardless of the particulars of a given situation. We need to focus on understanding God’s will as revealed in Scripture before worrying about how to respond to circumstances that the Bible does not speak to specifically.

Second, seek and listen for God. He wants us to seek after him. God wishes to be found (Jeremiah 29:13). This does not mean that hearing from God will be quick or easy. God will ask us to submit our will to His will, and this can be scary. However, the process of seeking and listening for God develops us as his disciples.

Third, delight in God and follow your heart. Psalm 37:4 states, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” This verse is not saying that if a person delights in God, then God will become a cosmic Santa Claus giving them everything that they had previously desired before delighting in God. Instead, when we delight in God, what we desire will be what God desires for us. This raises the question, “Where is our identity?” From what or whom do we gain our worth and purpose? We need to find our identity increasingly in Christ if we are going to delight in God. He is the source of our life. Perhaps we might feel that God is a killjoy-type of God. That is to say, we might think that God finds pleasure in making our life miserable. We must confront this by standing on the promise that God has wired us for abundant life (John 10:10b).

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