Friday, March 13, 2009

Bearing What We Need to Hear

NOTE: Enjoy this guest post by Rev. Neal Stover, Pastor of South Haven Church of the Nazarene, and my "Spiritual Father" and friend.

I still have many things to say to you,
but you cannot bear them now. (John 16:12)

Greetings in the name of Jesus!

Learning what we need to know is a gradual process.

At the present time, none of us can say that we've received all of the truth that the Lord has to impart.

That is why serious study of the Scriptures should be a part of our daily activity. Each day, we need to be adding a little to our storehouse of knowledge.

But coming to a full understanding of God's will involves more than study. Many things that we come across in our study will not "sink in" because we're not yet ready to hear them.

Perhaps we've not experienced the things in life that would allow us to see the real significance of what the Lord is saying.

Perhaps we don't have the desire for obedience that would let us recognize the truth of particular passages.

Or perhaps our study habits are not mature enough for us to penetrate the meaning of certain texts.

There may be many reasons, but the bottom line is that we don't always "hear" what God's word is saying to us.

To His apostles, Jesus said, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now."

These things would be made available to them later on, when they were more ready to receive them.

This illustrates the fact that God is patient with those who are trying to learn.

If we honestly want to do His will, He will see that we have the time and opportunity to learn. He will not ask us to understand more than we're able to receive at the present time.

But therein lies the problem. Often, it is not our lack of ability but our lack of willingness to hear.

As the Jewish proverb puts it, "The truth is not always what we want to hear." And even when the problem is a lack of ability, that lack of ability may be the result of neglect on our part. If we've not made growth in obedience a priority, it should come as no surprise that our understanding is immature and undeveloped.

And if this is the case, we need to repent. We need to set ourselves the goal of greater obedience.

Lord, give me the strength to bear the full impact of the truth as it applies to me. Help me, for the sake of Your glory, to be willing to hear whatever I need to hear. Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.

We are the vessels, the containers, so that the first work
after the new birth is to cultivate the habit of receptivity.
...Norman Grubb

Pastor Neal Stover
South Haven Nazarene


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