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Monday, August 8, 2011

Staying out of trouble

1-2 Dear friend, pay close attention to this, my wisdom; listen very closely to the way I see it.  Then you'll acquire a taste for good sense;
   what I tell you will keep you out of trouble. 
(Proverbs 5:1-2)

Picture yourself alone, taking a little time to get away so that you can really spend some time listening to what God speaks into your life.  As you begin to hear from him, this is what he says, "Dear friend, pay close attention to this, my wisdom; listen very closely to the way I see it..."  Now, most of us would sit right up and take notice that God was about to share something with us!  If "hearing" from God was as easy as sitting down and listening for an audible voice that was this clear, we'd do it in a heartbeat!  

Yet, we have been given his Word, good preachers and teachers, great friends who speak volumes into our lives, and countless other opportunities to "pay close attention" and "listen very closely to the way God sees things".  The sad reality is that I have heard from countless Christians that they just don't know what God is speaking into their lives.  What I have come to realize is that they don't recognize the voice of the Spirit as the voice of God!

Let me give you an example of what I mean.  Yesterday, several people were beginning to complain about some personalities that are a little tough to get along with.  As they were, I had a thought come to mind that I could have shared, but that thought would not have been kind, respectful, or edifying if it had been spoken.  I had this little "check" in my conscience that simply said to me that I might think it, but don't say it!  I held back and agreed with that little "voice" - speaking the thoughts I had at that moment would not have been wise.

Those little "nigglings" of our subconscious and conscious minds are often the "directing" of our lives by the Spirit of God.  They are the "words" that eventually help us to learn to see things (and others) as God sees them.  The more frequently we "listen" to the direction we are given, the better the outcomes.  Most of us develop a sense of what is good and bad as we are growing up.  We call these values.  Values help to guide our actions.  God has many opportunities to "refine" our values in our daily activities by those "nigglings" that either tell us to "hold back" or "let it go".  

The more we learn to listen to those "nigglings" the more we develop an awareness of the importance of yielding to them as we experience them.  As I drove to work the other day, a truck began to edge into my lane.  The problem was that I was in the exact spot that truck was heading into!  Immediately, I felt an "urge" to look that direction.  I was preoccupied at the time this began to occur, but that "niggling" centered my attention and I very narrowly avoided being side-swiped and run off the road going 45 mph!

So, the promise to us is that if we learn to "pay attention" and truly "listen" we will be kept from a whole lot of trouble in our lives.  This goes for everything from our interpersonal relationships to our bodily safety!  "Good sense" is the refinement of what it is we perceive, how we perceive it, and what we do with what we perceive.  Most of us have common sense - but that does not always equate to "good" sense!  We need our senses refined so that we are in tune with what God desires.

Wanna stay out of "trouble" in this life?  Let your "senses" be refined.  Wanna have refined senses?  Learn to listen to those nigglings of your subconscious and your conscious mind.  The "voice" of God is really not that hard to hear.  It just comes in the development of a listening ear!