I’ve always considered myself to be kind of a simple guy. It doesn’t really take a lot to make me happy! My wife was much the same way and that’s probably why we hit it off so well over the years. Some of the best memories I have of our relationship was the easy, deep and enjoyable conversations we would have while taking a walk around the neighborhood, sitting at the kitchen table or driving together to the grocery store!
I think the most pleasant of all of our “date nights” at least to me, was going to Jack in the Box, grabbing a couple of burgers and fries and then driving up the Fountain Grove Parkway to the edge of the parking lot near where the Home Depot is now located. Once there we would sit and talk for hours, munch on our deliciously greasy burgers and hold hands in the Camaro while we enjoyed the view of the western part of city before us! (That view must be totally different now as much of that area was devastated by the fires a couple of years ago!)
That description of us can be attributed to our faith as well. A familiar scripture that the Lord has put in my thoughts before getting up over the last two days does a good job at explaining how we’ve tended to operate within our Christian walk over the years. It’s found in I Peter 5:6-7 and is quite simple and straightforward in its presentation. It encourages us to “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, (so) that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” (NASB)
I think that this verse gives us another important step in our ability to be sensitive and obedient to the leadings of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. The first couple of words say it all… “Humble yourselves!” Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries tells us that that expression means to “to depress in condition or heart.” So that’s pretty understandable right? In God speak, that describes the condition that Christians are to have in relationship to Him… to place ourselves under or in submission to Him and His Word! In other words, to put Him and His Word before what we may think or want to do!
I particularly like one of the definitions from Thayer’s Greek Definitions concerning the phrase “humble yourselves.” It explains the action as “to have a modest opinion of one’s self; to behave in an unassuming manner.” That to me, puts forth a very practical application of the Word! I was telling my cousin just the other night, that it is kind of weird, but I have always been more comfortable getting up in front of a large crowd of people and making a presentation than with being an active participant in a small group… go figure, right? I think that it is partially because I like to have my facts straight before entering into a conversation and therefore, I end up doing a lot more listening than I do speaking.
We probably all know “that person” who seems to think that they are experts on everything and have a quick reply or answer on almost any subject… do you know what I mean? I’ll be honest as individuals like that tend to annoy me and instead of trying to correct them, I usually just stay quiet in the midst of the conversation. Part of that response is because I’m either chuckling inside at what I think is the absurdity of what was said or am simply so shocked that I have no reasonable comment to make at the time!
That was a strong point of my wife though. She had the most uncanny ability to rapidly collect her thoughts and reply in a sweet manner with an encouraging word that almost always brought peace and many times a gentle correction to any mis-truth that may have been uttered… without embarrassing anyone!
I firmly believe that her ability to respond that way was because she had taken the time over the years to humble herself “under the mighty hand of God,” submit, without question to His will as stated in His Word and become very sensitive and obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit within her. It was also an ability that I had to strongly pursue when it came to the care of my wife as the symptoms of Alzheimer’s increased in her.
I can’t tell you of all the times over the eight years that I cared for her 24/7, when it looked like an emergency situation was happening with her and I had to quiet myself enough to hear his voice and simply ask, “what do I do Lord?” And you know… He ALWAYS gave me the right answer! In those intense moments when my head was screaming: “CALL 911,” His peace always prevailed. I asked, listened and then did whatever things in the natural/physical realm that I felt He was instructing me to do that would remedy the situation!
There were a few times when I did feel it was necessary to call the 24 hour on duty hospice nurse and I did call 911 here in North Carolina once (and a few times with the seizures she had in California), but most times the answer to the need was simple care procedures that I could do, which kept her calm, at peace and safe.
So, hopefully you see my point here… By developing your sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit, you will not only find help in understanding the things of God, but also discover His great assistance toward you in the daily situations of your life. The last part of verse seven in our scripture portion above declares that “He cares for you.” In the original Greek, the word “cares” is actually a different word than the same word used earlier in the verse (translated “anxiety” in our version) and it describes God’s caring for you and me by implying that we are “of interest” and “matter” greatly to Him!
And if you’re anything like me… then I think that’s the kind of “care” that you want to connect with! All it takes is some hunger for the things of God, a good portion of HUMBLE pie in front of God and His ways (ie; keeping your mouth shut until you’ve sought out His thoughts on whatever is going on…) and then being obedient to His direction or leadings! Simple right? I know, I know… easier said than done… but the rewards far exceed the effort and discomfort!
Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep saying with me… “I am expecting to listen to God for His directions before giving my two cents on any matter!”