I don’t know about you, but I’ve enjoyed thinking through these questions this week. Primarily, my posts have revolved around the question of how God gets our attention when we stop listening to him.
Every follower of Jesus – from time to time – either for a short time or perhaps even for a long time – will find it difficult to hear or to follow Jesus Christ. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that we are no longer in Christ or that we are no longer indwelled by the Holy Spirit or that we are no longer children of God. Instead, it means that we have hindered the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Scripture uses the language of “quench” or sin or transgress or disobey to refer to this same situation.
So, since God loves us, he does not want us to continue in this state. What does he do to get our attention to to help us return to him?
We are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. God can work directly in our lives to get our attention. But, of course, the problem is that we are already not paying attention to him. It’s possible that God can work in a different way in our lives to get our attention. But, it’s also possible that we will refuse to hear him in this new way also.
God also uses Scripture to get our attention – to show us where we have moved away from him. This means, of course, that Scripture would need to already be a part of our lives. When we are in a situation that we are not listening to God, it is not likely that we will begin to read Scripture. (Of course, it could happen.) However, if we have already been reading Scripture, then God can bring passages and stories and principles to our minds to draw us back to him.
Finally, God uses his children – our brothers and sisters in Christ who God has brought into our lives. If we have shared our lives with one another, then these people will know as we begin to ignore or neglect the work of the Spirit in our lives. They will know when we are not demonstrating the love of God. God can use them to get our attention and to help “restore” us to a state where we are listening to and following him again.
These three – the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, and the Children of God – are not distinct, of course. And, it is actually God working through the Scriptures and his children to do his work. So, we are always dependent on God to draw us back to himself. But, besides dealing with us directly via his Spirit, he also uses the Scriptures and his children.