Summary: God has called us to be constantly fanning the spiritual flames inside us, and it is up to us to train ourselves to make the Spiritual Disciplines part of our routine, or lifestyle.
Committing to hear God’s Voice
I want to begin today by reading to you Faith Fellowship’s Mission Statement:
It is our mission to serve God by bringing people into a relationship of worship with Jesus that is passionate and genuine allowing them to grow in fellowship, maturity, ministry and a lifestyle of evangelism.
Notice that I highlighted “allowing them to grow”. I did that for a very specific reason. You may or may not have noticed, but this simple phrase directs us in how we teach and what direction we take in ministry and as a church. We want to see God’s people grow!
Over a month ago I sat down to plot out a 2009 teaching schedule. And as I was praying, I felt that God was giving me the words to start the new year: Spiritual Growth.
This then led me to a verse that my good friend Chris shared with me as God revealed to him in almost a vision type form in regards to God’s Church:
2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NIV)
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
I see this verse in three parts:
1) A call to fan the flames (the embers are hot!)
2) Reminder to be bold with the Love God gives us
3) To be self-disciplined
That last part is the one I want to focus on. I do this because I think in it is the key to fanning the flames spiritually in our own lives.
What is the feeling you get when you hear the word “Discipline”? For me growing up, it was not a fun word. It was a word that I heard when I was in trouble for something I did wrong.
• the controlled behavior resulting from such training
• activity or experience that provides mental or physical training
• (verb) train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way
When we look at these definitions, self-discipline as seen in 2 Timothy is more about “training ourselves” to make habits from the Fundamental Spiritual Disciplines, so that we can foster growth spiritually!
Sounds simple right? So then what are these spiritual disciplines? Over the course of the coming weeks we want to examine these Spiritual Disciplines, and how we can train to make them habit.
Today we want to focus our attention on the first Discipline of “Committing to Hear God’s Voice”.
I like the word Commit in that phrase, because there is power in it. We live in a society where commitment isn’t what it used to be, but when we say we want to commit to do this, we are saying we want to always seek and listen to God’s Voice. I’ll come back to that in a moment.
First let’s recognize…
1. God Speaks!
First let’s establish the fact that God has been speaking to people from the beginning of human history, both directly and indirectly. I want to highlight at least seven way that God has spoken to humankind as seen in the bible:
A. He speaks through the artistry of His creation
Psalm 19:1-4 (NLT)
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. 2 Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. 3 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. 4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.
God speaks so clearly through his creation that all are held accountable to believe in the creator
B. He speaks in our natural sense of morality
God has placed in all of us the fundamental sense of right and wrong:
Romans 2:14-15 (NLT)
Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.
Our morals may shift without a proper standard because we are also born with a sin nature, but the original sense of right and wrong is there by God’s doing.
C. He speaks through Divine Providence
God uses the miracles of life to speak to us! Just look at the “Miracle on the Hudson” this past week! God was watching out and speaking to all of us!
D. He speaks through Signs and Wonders
Genesis 9:13 (NIV)
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.