I know that one word from God can change everything. I also know that when God speaks, His word(s) bring blessings to me. He wants good for me, nothing less than blessings will do. How do I know this is true? Because of Jesus. Jesus wants me to live my life to its fullest, and He wants my life to bless others. How can I bless others if I am not blessed? You can’t give what you don’t have, right? Jesus wants me to use the blessings He gives me to impact the world the way He did. His heart for me is to become more like Him, to reflect His glorious light into a dark, confused world. So how do I do this? How do I hear from God and receive from Him?
First, put Jesus first in everything. Purposefully invite Him into your life. Then ask Him to help you put Him first. Welcome Him into your time, your money, your affections. It’s good to remember that Jesus put you first. He calls you His bride and He left His Father in heaven to claim you through His death on the cross.
If you want to put Him first, there are three things to recognize as threats. Three enemies are vying for first place in your heart.
1) Yourself. You have a carnal nature. Saint Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, says “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should." Another translation reads "I beat my flesh into submission.” Even Saint Paul isn’t perfect, he has to combat the part of himself that is against God. That part of ourselves is our "flesh." Our flesh holds pride, unforgiveness, anger, selfishness. Our flesh is our worst critic. Paul writes “the mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so..." The problem with our flesh is that our flesh goes everywhere we go. We cannot escape. But the Holy Spirit also travels everywhere with us! Who will we listen to? It is a choice we make every single day and in every moment. Ask Jesus for help.
2) Carnal Relationships. The Bible advises that we not be "yoked" with unbelievers. In other words, keep core relationships in life, business, and pleasure between yourself and other Christians. You become who you hang with. The enemy, Satan, will use whomever you let influence you to steal God's blessings. Satan will even use your own family. So be aware that if someone isn't hearing from God through His Word and His Spirit, it is wise to keep their influence in your life to a minimum. Pray for guidance and affections to come from the right people, from God's holy people.
3) The World. The world can be a powerful enemy. It is never an ally. The world's voice is always trying to distract us from God. Whether it's movies or music, books or magazines, newspapers or blogs, friends or foes, the world wants to draw our attention its way. "Just compromise a little," that’s the world’s message. Think about the music you listen to, the words in the music and how it affects you. Worldly things attempt to sneak past the gatekeepers of our heart and mind. Pray to Jesus for discernment. Then follow His lead and fill your mind and heart with things of His, not things of the world.
In all things put Jesus first. Trust Him and never be afraid to ask Him for help.