Is God Speaking to ME?
Poor Paul. He is always finding himself in a mess. Today, in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 18, as he was doing what the Lord had instructed him to do, the Jews rose up against him and took him to the tribunal.
Gallio, a Roman, was the one who had to make the decision as to whether Paul broke any laws, and since he didn’t care about Jewish law, he sent everyone away and didn’t hold Paul responsible for any “crime or malicious fraud.”
We need to be careful when we read scripture. We need to be careful not to just dismiss these accounts as interesting stories from long ago that have no relevance to us today.
If we believe that the Bible is just an interesting read for the people of a certain time, and not actually God’s Word, we could be in danger of dismissing the fact that God’s Word is meant for all people, for all time.
If we believe that God’s Word isn’t meant for just certain people, but for us as well, that will impact how we read it and what we do.
You see, when we read the bible, we need to consider who it was written for, when it was written, and put it in context, context, context. It is not open for personal interpretation, but—and this is important—God does still speak to us individually through his Word (as well as other ways).
How you and I are inspired, or prompted to act on what we experience in our prayer time and with scripture is not revelation meant for public consumption, but it can still be a genuine experience of God nonetheless.
Take today’s reading for example. If you are reading that God said to Paul, “Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you,“ it could very well be a word meant for you. Let’s say that in praying those very precise words, you felt a prompting, or maybe even a response, to something you had been discerning. It may be an indication that God is speaking to you.
If those words were only meant for Paul, then what is the point of our spending time in scripture? If God’s Word doesn’t reach us, how is it anything more than just another book?
Of course, we won’t always have such a personal experience with scripture, but it is important to be open to it, as God’s Word transcends the centuries.
Let’s take the reading from the Gospel of John today, Chapter 15, verses 20-23. Jesus uses the very relatable example of childbirth as he describes how the pain of childbirth is forgotten and turned into joy at the sight of one’s baby.
Again, this isn’t just a nice example, but points to the bigger message that whatever trials we might be going through can be transformed by joy. We could say our earthly trials will be transformed in eternal life, or we could find hope in God’s Word, knowing that an ordinary problem we are dealing with will move from grief to joy. Naturally, in context, we need to consider what Jesus was saying to the disciples, too.
If you read scripture as if it is outdated and not meant for you, there is the danger that you will not hear God speaking to you, speaking into your life’s circumstances.
Spend some time in scripture today, in silence, contemplating God’s Word, allowing yourself to be open to whatever he might give you. If you hear nothing, come back tomorrow, because God never takes a day off!