Open Hearts, Doors, Minds… And Mouths?

In Psalm 81; there is a promise that was most beautifully made:   “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it!”    Billy Graham used to say that those words” paint a mental picture of the baby bird in a nest, mouth wide open, shaking with anticipation over those few morsels that mama bird is just about to give”.   

As I think about those wide mouthed birds I realize that we are all like that, or at least we should be.   I also think we make it harder than it needs to be.   We find ourselves fighting God, and the process and in the end we stumble.    I believe with every ounce of my being it is hardest to walk away.   Its more natural to stop and listen.   

When I told this to a seeker, they said I was naïve.  They said that faith was just about the hardest thing we can do.    I told him that if it is something we do, its impossible.   We need to open ourselves up to God doing for us.    Faith is certainly hard when we try to control or direct it.    Faith is exponentially easier if we let God drive.    After some thought, I talked to that seeker about three steps that might help.  After some thought, I started to believe that these are steps that get the train moving. 

Step One:   Be Open and Honest.

Step one is about opening up about your faith, your hopes, and your doubts.    Turn to someone you trust and talk about faith, and about what you believe.    If you look around, and there is no one you feel comfortable turning to; click the “About Scott” link where you will find name and my email.  We’ll share a coffee, or an email, and certainly a conversation.  Isaiah 1 says “Come let us reason together.”   Those conversations are how our faith grows, and conversations are needed.   One of the promises of our church is that there will always be someone to have those conversations with. 

Step Two:   Be With God

Step two is insuring that you are in the right place to hear him.   Put yourself in places where God tells you he will be.    He will most certainly be found in the pages of our Bible and in the pews during worship on Sunday, but he can also be found in the moments of devotion, discipleship, stewardship, and service.    Put yourself in those moments.  Surround yourselves with them.   The Lord can certainly speak to us through and in all places and times, but it certainly helps for us to find those places where we will hear him loudest and clearest, or to find those places when the volume of the rest of the world is at its lowest. 

Step Three:  Turn to God

Step three is simply to reach out to him.   Don’t be afraid to get down on your hands and knees, or in the quiet of your regular day to day, and talk with him.   Whether your prayer life is more traditional and recognizable… or if its like mine; and occurs throughout the regular aspects of your day (like a commute to work)…  You need to take the time to not only listen, but to open your own heart. 

Jesus tells us in Luke 11, that if we want answers, if we want to be filled, and if we want the relationship, the promise and the treasure, then we need to pray, and we need to pray with boldness and persistence.   We need to be in that life long, two way conversation with God.   We will schedule doctor’s visits, appointments at the bank, and even time for our pastimes….We need to schedule time with God too. 

Our faith isn’t difficult, but its ownership and the choice is ours.   We can continue to be afraid to make the full commitment and miss the treasure right here for us to take, or we can finally stand up and say yes.    We can reach the point where we want him more than breath.     We can reach that point, and thankfully the choice is ours.  It’s about time that we, as a church, not only open our hearts, our minds, and our doors…but our mouths as well.

(Over time, I have come realized there is at least a fourth step:   Don’t fight it.   Let God talk, and listen.    When times get rough or challenging, ask yourself:   Are you fighting God?   If so, stop.   It makes things exponentially easier!  I would love to hear agreement or disagreement on these steps…)

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