In a previous post called “Connecting the dots…“, I suggested that Scripture gives us certain points of reference, but does not always draw a complete picture as to how we should live, or perhaps even what we should believe. Similarly, in the post “Adding more dots…“, I suggested that we should make a distinction between Scriptural points of reference and man-made points of reference that we often find in creeds, confessions, and systems of theology. These two posts build a foundation in order to answer the question, “How do we live between the dots?” I answered this question in the post “Living between the dots…” We live between the dots just as we live near the dots, by living in the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit. In “Blurring the dots…” I recognized that living according to any “voice” other than the Spirit’s is the same as usurping the authority of God in our lives.
In this post, I want to include other voices in this conversation. I believe that God puts us together for a reason, and sometimes He speaks to us through other people.
Aussie John said:
The whole group of local Body parts functioning as one living unit must be involved in filling in the gaps, with EACH PART, “hearing” the voice of God in the Scriptures, in “the still small voice”, and in discussion with each other, checking whether what they “hear” or “see” is truly in accord with the Scriptures.
I think, honestly, that people would rather God just spelled it ALL out or they would rather have someone else (i.e. a pastor) spell it all out for them. We’ve become lazy and fearful (on many levels) and we have a lack of understand of who God is … because of that we would rather not invest the time and energy that it takes to walk by the Spirit. We’d rather not wait, we’d rather not walk by faith. We’re afraid that we might make the wrong decisions or even have to question some things we’ve always believed.
John Purcell said:
This started me thinking about relationships. Now, this is not well formed (as yet) but I wonder whether we inherently look for ‘guidelines’ etc, to eliminate certain (often unknown) risks that might otherwise be involved.Consider for a moment, if we ‘knew’ God well, i.e. really knew Him; not just knew about Him. Then we would be more inclined to ‘know’ what he wanted of us (whether individually or corporately) far more readily. I can’t help but wonder whether a large part of the problem lies in our inability to relate well to others and especially to God on a level of intimacy that would equate to such ‘knowing’?
Kat (Elder’s Wife) said:
I keep going back to my favorite verse, Phil. 3:10 “…that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death…” To know Christ, really know Him would mean a far deeper bond than any marriage could ever have. My husband and I have been married 40+ years, and every day I know him better and better. We love to talk because our interests have become more and more aligned. I know what he like to eat and how he likes to relax and what kind of music/books he enjoys and what makes him cry/laugh. A single word or phrase brings back shared memories. Sometimes, we don’t even have to say a word, and we know what the other is thinking…and sometimes we finish each other’s sentences. That’s knowing another person. God knows me (and I can’t imagine why He still loves me!), but I don’t know nearly enough of Him. I want to be able to know Him well enough to finish His sentences. That, I think, is living between the dots.
I’d like to chime in and agree that probably a good starting place for this aspect of the discussion is “knowing God” and being led by the Holy Spirit. Clearly, that has to be where we start in discerning what dots are man-made and which are God-made.
I am currently in the process of removing some man-made dots, but this will probably continue on for the rest of my life … and that’s a good thing. I have realized over the past 2 or so years that I don’t know what I think I know. Again, a very good thing, to be sure! How has this impacted my walk? It’s amplified it, enhanced it, increased it, improved it! I am so thankful for how the Lord works … He is a GOOD God, patient and His lovingkindness endures forever! Another thing this removal of man-made dots in order to Scriptural points of reference has done – it has humbled me. Again, a very good thing!
What really helped me in seeing the man-made dots versus the God-made dots were some very simple questions… they mostly sounded like, “is that what the Bible says?” Peeling off the man-made dots has been a continuous process, some of them were made by me, some were made by others, I am not sure which is harder to shed. Either way, it has always been a blessing to shed them. I was thinking about this post (and the last in this series) and started to wonder what we should do about God-made dots that are not recognized as dots at all.
Aussie John said:
Sometimes, when we can see the artifice behind some dots, we have to take risks, such as challenging the status quo by asking questions. The risk is that some, who are your brethren, will have no answers, and walk away from you because you questioned what they traditionally hold as sacred(Sabbath keeping, tithing, etc.)Being part of a traditional scene, trying to keep the peace, I wasted many valuable years by not asking the questions raised by my study of Scripture.
We walk by sight rather than by faith or by the Spirit all too often. We must live by the Spirit in the every day (in between the dots) and do so wholeheartedly. We must listen to God’s voice. He is speaking always, through all we experience, and we must grow in our ability to hear. Let him who has ears to hear…This should not be feared or explained away as too subjective, emotional, overwhelming or crazy. We must look to God in everything in life. Managing through all of our details is not too big for God, and I am glad He can do it given my current place in life.
Kat (Elder’s Wife) said:
In our “fast food” world, it has become harder and harder to wait for anything, hasn’t it? Somehow, I think that God should jump to answer my questions or provide for my needs…NOW! I forget that He isn’t there to provide room service, and He’s not a reference desk. He’s the God of the universe, and He desires an ongoing relationship, not a tip for services rendered. I do find that reading His Word with a mind that is open to His voice is often the way God speaks to me…but He’s also used a full-page ad on the back cover of a magazine.
It seems God’s ability to speak through all of our circumstances and lives is unlimited. He is God. I think we often fail to hear Him because we rely on our own understanding (Prov 3:5-6), we aren’t good as resisting the Enemy (James 4:7), we often have unconfessed sin in our lives (Psalm 66:18, Isa. 59:1-2), and we, as Kat points out, are impatient. We don’t want to just be still before God and wait to hear. But, as His sheep (notice it isn’t limited to just the mature or beautiful sheep), we are all able to hear His voice. John 10:27.
Won’t you pull a chair up to the table, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and add your voice to this discussion?
“Connecting the Dots” Series: