We can call God our Father because it is how Jesus taught us to pray. We also know that God is love. Therefore, the Father’s heart is a heart of love. How beautiful it is to see the Father’s heart lived out in the people around us. How encouraging to see this memorial in the middle of Sacramento:
I was scrolling through my twitter feed recently, and slowly found myself overwhelmed by all of the noise. So many people are talking constantly and sharing whatever 140 characters their mind deems most important at the time. Even though most of my feed is encouraging advice or uplifting, spiritual sentiments, everything people were saying felt like an overwhelming burden.
I began to wonder: with all of the people speaking on twitter, is there anyone really listening? Actually, in life, is anyone really listening? Let that question float around in your head unanswered for a few moments right now and meditate on it. Is anyone really listening?
If you happen to have paused to do this, then you just became a “yes” answer by your action, and I thank God for you.
In the overabundance of speaking/sharing today, I have begun lately to feel that my voice is not needed. Not too long ago, I would have come to the conclusion that I myself am not needed. But I am more than my voice. In a world of excess sharing, to be a listener is much needed societal role. We need people who can bear silence. We need people who can hear and internalize. Moreover, the listener’s role is not to be a sounding board for the overabundance of speaking, but to be focused discerner—listening for specific things and then amplifying those things, pointing out their validity, praising their virtue. A good listener may use his voice to repeat the worthy sayings he has heard. A good listener, I believe, listens for the message of the hope of Christ and the knowledge of God and relays that message to her own social circle.
The power of the listening individual, however, is mainly in living. In the things that he does, or the manner in which she carries out her tasks, a listener is a living hieroglyphic, a testimony written in flesh, of the things that the listener has heard. We as a society need to learn to be okay with not being heard and to become more concerned with applying the good things we’ve heard from others and living like we care about life. Yes, if we’re only concerned with making sure people know what we’re thinking, I’d venture to say that we don’t really care about life. Getting people to hear what you have to say takes a tremendous amount of effort and that energy could be spent in other areas that might actually make a difference in other people’s lives much faster. Stop raising awareness for your cause by shouting at everyone. Start living your awareness and the right people will jump on board and help you make progress.
Have you ever been provoked to jealousy? When I first think of the word “jealousy” I think of something that needs to be quenched, done away with, or removed from me. It connotes a lack of harmony and inner turmoil. On the surface, it’s something I just want to get past, but like any emotion—toxic or otherwise—it points to something deeper. For this reason, jealousy is a gift in the spiritual realm.
There are heroes of the faith and anointed individuals who have wisdom, understanding of truth, and relationship with God that often provoke me to jealousy. There are people you can read about and personal writings you can study from these people that display a closeness with God that stirs up something in my spirit to yearn and pine for my own experience of closeness with God. It causes something in me to refuse to settle for a life lived less than near to God. It makes me jealous.
Some may decide that this restless feeling needs to be removed and do all they can to suppress it and say that it is gone, but that’s not healthy. Jealousy should provoke you to action. The blessing of jealousy is that, when channeled properly, it is not a dead end race—it is the beginning of the pursuit, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Jealousy is the beginnings of hunger pangs, and to hunger for God is a blessing. If you do not hunger, you will never know true satisfaction.
This is also the beauty of God’s expansiveness: there is so much of Him that the more we know, the more we are awakened to the increasing depths of Who He is. Spiritual hunger increases with the knowledge of God as does our experience of satisfaction.
Sometimes we are awakened to the reality of our own parched state. The landscape of our soul is dry and barren: then we hear of the deep things of God in and through the life of another. We are provoked to jealousy for their flourishing land. The hope in this situation is that you don’t have to conquer the territory of another to have it for yourself: God will meet you in your own land and bring you to flourish in your own walk. All you have to do is ask Him to.