Updated: Jun 4
Authority. It comes in droves from every corner of existence; some right, some wrong. Many people claim authority for the purpose of pride, gaining power and using it all corruptly. Many claim it just to be in control of something, because they’re not in control of enough of their own lives. Often, people acquire authority for both reasons. Many of us stand somewhere in the neutral zone, repeating sayings like “that’s just the way it is” and “it’s never gonna change”. But not enough... not enough of us recognize the highest, most correct and most efficient authority as what it really is... The love given by God.
What prompted this article?
A bout with faith. A lot of hardship has brought a lot of questions. And like a child throwing a fit because my Father wants me to learn a hard, important lesson; I’ve reached upward, shouted and stomped my feet. The emotion in me is battling the logic and it’s left me a bit confused.
The emotion: Considerable sleep loss, financial stress, serious chronic physical pain and the holidays punching some emotional bruises; combine this all with news I often shouldn't be watching about human corruption and distraction is a tempting thing. Even a fighter gets exhausted. Never so tired I will give up, but exhausted enough to sometimes question my faith; not in God, but in where our lives are going.
The logic: God has provided, protected and never let us down. And when my faith gets weaker, it usually includes my forgetfulness of how much He's done for us.
We’re all used to human corruption (even if we don’t know it)
I’ve seen so much anger lately over subjects like politics. I recently watched a horrific video about a kid being beaten up terribly by other children in a bus. It was because he wore a hat that said which president he stands for. The other children disagreed, violently.
Politics are nothing but a game; not about who can be the best, truest leader; but about who's best at presenting himself/herself that way. If that weren’t true, we wouldn’t be teaching our children the kind of hate and anger that causes them to send another child to the hospital, one agonizing blow at a time.
But why? Why does this happen? There were so many stages I saw when I watched those kids attacking that child; so many broken human modules that should have been functioning and protecting and protecting everyone on the bus from such an outcome. At worst, they should have looked at the kid’s hat and frowned, sitting back down in their seats and ignoring it. There had to be a lack of the kind of deep sadness that I felt when I watched it; and those children did not have that sadness in them at that moment. There was no voice in their ears that prevented such a tragedy.
Every human has a conscience. Every human has a connector that the Holy Ghost can plug into and deliver information. Every one of us needs someone in our lives who’ll say “no, there’s a better way, one that benefits us all”.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
Children on a bus, beating another child toward hospitalization; it's not natural (hopefully that's obvious); neither is killing, theft, adultery, harassment, mob mentality or basically any MO (method of operation) we use to damage each other. It all comes from one thing; while God, for thousands of years, has been constantly trying to wake us up to what we’re doing wrong and what’s right; we’re simply... not... listening.
I’ve heard so many people say it: “Something told me...”
“Something told me not to flirt with that girl. Now she won't leave me alone.”
“Something told me not to eat that extra dessert. Now I feel sick.”
“Something told me to step back from the road. And a minute later a car ran up on the curb and hit the pole, right where I’d been standing.”
I’ve tested that voice for the 40-some years I’ve been conscious of it (before this article came out). Since childhood, I've engaged in a slew of spiritual beliefs. I've studied and engaged with Atheism, Buddhism, Agnosticism and Christianity. During every single one of those periods in my life, that voice was present. It’s timing, it’s wisdom... none of its qualities ever changed.
But as a Christian; one thing has changed... I listen. At least 90% of the time I do what the Holy Ghost tells me, what God tells me and what Christ had set as an example in his time as an Earthly human. Why only 90% of the time? Probably so I can sit here and tell you that I have data. Of the countless times I’ve switched from listening to not listening, then back; I’ve witnessed the exact same results. Life; better when I listen, worse when I don’t. The change is not subtle either. There are always considerable, sometimes huge differences between the two.
And here’s another data point; the differences in results between listening and not; they’ve been just as measurable at times when I was an Atheist, as they were in times of deep faith.
The voice was always there
When I finally stepped into Christianity, the story about the voice was like any puzzle. I had pieces of it that never quite previously made sense. Then I got the info, that is, the explanation; something like the glue that puts it all together. I stood back from my spiritual table and saw some of the puzzles completed. Once that happened I was able to leap forward, to start verifying this theory with my next few years of experience.
What makes it reality
Filters in the brain.
I’ve said this before in my collection called Is God Real?:
"I can only introduce you to God. The rest has to come after you shut off the filters in the mind that hold out this kind of info."
So I turned off the filters that shut out the real information. That’s when I was able to watch the proof roll in, categorize it, organize it and use it. That’s when I started to realize how important it is to know the voice belongs to God, and to listen.
It's not always easy
I still struggle after years of practice. Sometimes temptations win. Sometimes I want to take a break and deny the voice of the Holy Ghost, just from exhaustion. Sometimes I just don’t understand why God would put me somewhere I wouldn't choose. But every time, the results are clear; and I see this in my little girl who just amazes me.
Jewel (my 3 year old) and I have struggled together at times when she’s too worn out or tempted. She doesn’t always listen, but for the most part she’s great at it. It’s because we respectfully ask things of her that keep her safe, healthy and happy. We don’t command out of an unreasonable sense of justice. We don’t ask her to do things for the sake of our convenience and comfort. We make it clear that our expectations are out of love and respect, and therefore, she usually makes the right choice on her own.
Like Jewel, when I deny my Heavenly Father’s voice, it’s either because of exhaustion, heavy temptation or a lack of understanding. And like Jewel, I’m not always clear on my Father's (God’s) intentions. But if I look back through the years, I remember some important information that helps me understand. God has let me sort out many of my own issues, but He’s never let them completely overtake me. He’s let my enemies persist, but he’s taught me to persist even more. He’s let me go through some seriously tough times, but He always showed me joy and love in the process. He’s held true to his words:
"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
The older I get, the more time seems fleeting, the less time I have to waste. And so I’m shifting from a younger, more rebellious man; to a wiser, better listener. And harkening to the voice of God has been a great aid in not wasting that time. Listening has brought more benefits than anything else, especially my own sense of direction. It gives me instant navigation, instant comfort and lasting rewards. That's because he parents us the way I always try to parent my child; everything His voice says comes form love; the kind we can't give on our own, fully grasp as humans, or find anywhere except in His arms.
Links mentioned above
Is God Real? (Collection) - A set of articles and videos that help answer one of the most asked questions in history.
A Child in a Messed up World (The Story of Jewel) (article) - Sometimes God answers with an undeniable action.
Can we Really Talk to God? (article) - In a perfect world, I think we would all have a natural, easy time of communicating with the divine. But, hopefully it’s obvious enough, this world is severely broken.
A Struggle to see the Face of God (article) - If we're not shutting them out, the features of God's 'face' are everywhere.
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