Thursday, June 24, 2010

Inspired By God?

Twenty-five years ago, if I had been asked, "Does God inspire people today?", I would have been alarmed that anyone would dare to ask such a question. It would have violated all my rational, theological, and fundamentalist training, and would have given me visions of Pentecostalism, spiritualism, and, at the very least, liberalism. I would have immediately thought about all the verses I could quote about being "thoroughly furnished" and "given all things" and "rightly dividing the Word of truth." All of which have nothing to do with the question. Inspiration does not mean new revelations, nor does it threaten existing revelation, or mean it's in anyway inadequate or incomplete.
Why do so many people find it so hard to believe that God can put something into your heart? Yes, we all know the horror stories about "crazy people" who think God was talking to them, calling on them to do something terrible. Those are extreme cases involving psychologically impaired people. Does that mean God doesn't put thoughts into our hearts? We have no problem (usually) believing that Satan can. He's the Tempter! What good is a Tempter who can't even get you to think about what he's tempting you with? Is God limited simply because He has given us His message about His plan for redeeming man? Should our fear of things unknown, things like the Holy Spirit, prevent us from hearing something God might put into our hearts? Where do "good thoughts" come from? Isn't being "moved with compassion" a Christ-like quality that God fosters, encourages, and helps with? When that pull hits your heart telling you that you ought to do something, is that just your conscience speaking or is it God speaking through your conscience? What does He mean when He tells us "draw near to God and He will draw near to you"? If prayer is communication with God, has He already said all He's going to say?
I don't have to understand how it all works, but God putting godly ideas into our heart - ideas that are also proclaimed in His written Word - is totally consistent with His nature and His Word. How can we have "the mind of Christ" and not be tuned into God? There is nothing in the Bible that says that God can't inspire or guide us through our thinking, our talking, and our writing. He's not going to inspire anyone to think, say, or write anything that contradicts what He's inspired others with in the past, but that doesn't mean He's stopped doing it!
Did Paul know he was writing under the inspiration of God? His reference to "scripture" to Timothy is talking about the Old Testament. Did he know that He was writing something that would become "God's Word" for all time? I think the answer is "no" both times, but it doesn't change our believe that God was inspiring him.
I love what Paul said to the Corinthians in his second letter. He said, "I thank God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you." (8:16) I don't believe he was talking about a special miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Titus beyond what every child of God has. (Acts 2:38)
Just maybe, if we'd give God a little credit for the godly thoughts we have, we might be a little more motivated to follow through on those thoughts instead of seeing them as merely "one option".
Is it possible that He has directly and personally answered our prayers, but we didn't recognized that it was Him speaking?
Wow! Now why did I write this?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen! Why do we ask for God to guide us or "our steps", but then don't believe He really does it?