Monday, June 7, 2010


This morning in my devotions I was reading from John 15 and once again came across that oh so familiar verse 7: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

I like that verse, but for years it’s been an enigma to me. An enigma, because I’ve thought that I’ve remained in Him and I know I’ve memorized scripture, so as to keep His words in me, yet when I ask for certain things, they don’t always come; ergo the enigma of the verse to me the believer.

As I pondered and studied this verse, I began to come into a fresh understanding of this truth. Remaining in Him or abiding in Him has not really been an issue for me. I’m saved and I know it. I set my mind on things above and keep my eyes fixed on Him. For nearly 30 years I’ve read my Bible and prayed with consistent frequency and have all my life been in church. So from the standpoint of abiding in or remaining in Him, I think I’ve kept myself immersed in the things of God. My guess is there are many of you out there like me, having a similar faith journey and record.

But, the part of that verse emerging as most vital (that I’ve faithfully deposited in me as Bible memory verses) goes way beyond simple chapter and verse memorization.

The Apostle Paul wrote the following in 1 Corinthians 14:11 (in essence); if people cannot nor will not understand “the meaning of the voice” behind words spoken, communication breaks down and it becomes like two different languages being spoken to one another; i.e. confusion and lack of understanding being the end result.

Granted, the context is tongues and prophetic messages within the church, but I believe we can embrace a broader scope to the Spirit’s intent of this revelation.

Abiding in Him and having Bible verses committed to memory is all well and good. These are healthy Christian disciplines, but I believe many Christ followers find themselves in ANSWER GRIDLOCK, because they’ve not UNDERSTOOD the meaning behind the voice. The Power of the Spirit behind the very words (intent) recorded in scripture, and MOST OF ALL the words spoken to the heart of those willing to follow.

So why might there be a lack of understanding or spirit perception on the part of one who has sought to abide in Him and keep Bible verses in their memory?

Let’s go to Matthew 24:12 and discover one of the enigmatic connections to the ANSWER GRIDLOCK and our lack of understanding.

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,” (NIV)

If you’ve ever read this passage before, it’s likely you read it from an objective stand point, meaning you’re looking out at the world assuming it’s their condition and not ours (Christians). But I would tend to be more inclusive in the indictment. I would include those who call themselves Christians or Christ followers.

In Matthew 24:12 the word translated as “wickedness” or “iniquity” is from the Greek word anomia which means basically what we might imagine: 1) the condition of without law; a) because ignorant of it; b) because of violating it; 2) contempt and violation of law; iniquity, wickedness. That seems simple enough, right?

Most of us Christians would in no way desire to act out this definition and thereby find ourselves engaged in wickedness or iniquity. But, if one digs just below the surface for the broader meaning or implication of this word, you find another synonym for anomia. That synonym (παρκοή) means the disobedience to a voice. Another synonym found in a few other places of scripture, where the text used is: (παρακοή) or parakoē (Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthians 10:6; Hebrews 2:2) actually means to hear amiss (disobedience). Hearing amiss or could we say ignoring the voice of God or even hearing what YOU WANT to hear is at the heart of wickedness.

Maybe in these last days you wouldn’t go out and engage in classic sins of the flesh. Some examples would be found in Galatians 5:19-21 “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

But, how many of us just might find ourselves IGNORING the voice or the meaning of what God is saying or even hearing what we want to hear in any given moment as the Spirit speaks to our heart? That’s right, ignoring or hearing amiss or disobeying the VOICE of the Spirit.

For if and when we find ourselves in that position; we in turn will find ourselves increasing in wickedness and the ultimate end WILL BE a decrease of LOVE.

So why is this important? Because, Jesus told us if we keep an open channel from His lips to our heart, and we hold to and obey the things He is immediately prescribing, half of the component of ANSWER GRIDLOCK will be reversed.

Which leads us back to what James tells us about asking things from God when we have wrong, unloving or actually very sick motives. James 4:3 indicates that sick motives or selfish motives produce ANSWER GRIDLOCK.

So how did we get from John 15 to James 4? By the path of turning a deaf ear to the inner voice of God. Oh we can do all the churchy Christian things that make for a prudent life while being saved and in Him, BUT are we listening to and obeying THE VOICE of God in our moment by moment life situations?

My contention is WE ARE NOT. But my conviction is WE CAN. We can by simply opening up a common dialog with Jesus. Revelation 3:20 tells us; “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” That doesn’t sound very complicated. It sounds more like a casual meal and a friendly conversation.

When was the last time you spoke, listened, and obeyed? Give it a try; you just might see ANSWER GRIDLOCK disappear before your very eyes.

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