I’m the second born – centered right in the middle of three other siblings. One older sister and two younger brothers. Growing up, it was only a matter of months before my older sister’s new clothes became her old ones…and then morphed into my new ones again. I’d rejoice over each new dress or pair of shoes as if it had come straight from the Sears catalogue in a pretty package with my name on it.
But it hadn’t.
It was just a hand-me-down – a second hand garment that still served a purpose.
Then something changed – not about the clothes but about me. I can’t pinpoint what, why or how, but one day those second-hand outfits just felt…well…second-hand. I stood in front of an array of outfits, fresh from my sister’s closet, and was completely unimpressed. I didn’t mind having them, I just desired something more in addition to them. I guess a few years of age and maturity brought with them a desire for personalized outfits – clothes that had been initially selected with me in mind. Sure, these gently used items were pretty and still purposeful . . . they just weren’t personal. I wanted something that had been shopped for, selected and purchased just for me. Second-hand clothes had been fine for a while but now – now – I wanted an outfit with my name on it.
As a believer matures, they should be grateful for but not satisfied with “hand-me-down” revelation from God. Why should we settle for God’s Word that has been revealed to someone else and simply handed on to us? Sure, those who teach and pass along their understanding of God’s Word should be appreciated and even honored but their impartation to us should never quell our own desire to hear God for ourselves. In fact, it should stir it up and incite that passion all the more. We should all crave a message from God’s Spirit that has our name on it and is designed to give us tailor-made, hand picked, personal direction and guidance.
It can happen, you know.
He wants us to hear His voice, understand and obey.
It seems that many of us have fallen into the pattern of thinking that He only speaks to some believers; only those who have reached some mystical level of spiritual prowess that the rest of us could never attain to. So we have become satisfied with hand-me-downs; a version of mediocre Christian existence that we were not created for. We sit on the sidelines while those whom we assume have some special hotline with God hear His voice and have a fresh, vibrant relationship with Him. And, to be clear, those others might indeed have a special connection with the Lord. They may in fact hear Him in a way we do not. But if they do, it isn’t because they are unique or special. It is because they have the discipline to do what any one of us can – seek Him, open their spiritual ears to hear Him and then be willing to obey Him.
We can do that too. Yes, you and me.
One of the rights and privileges that we all have as followers of our Lord is to hear His voice, each of us. . .one-on-one. Whether you sit in the pew or speak from the pulpit; teach a small Bible study or command the attention of thousands in a crowded auditorium; whether your mission field is across the street or across the world, He can and will speak to you. He doesn’t play favorites. Each of us – every child in the family – has the privilege of experiencing a personal relationship with the Father.
He meets us where we are despite who we are and reveals His will for our lives with His still small voice. Thank the Lord for the hand-me-downs but then open your hands, your ears and your heart to receive the package He’s got coming just for you.
*Excerpted and adapted from He Speaks To Me: Preparing to Hear From God.