Here are three signs that God might be trying to tell you something very important.
A few years before I came to saving faith in Christ, things started to unravel for me. I wasn’t married, and it seemed every girl I thought I loved, loved someone else, and those few that loved me I could do nothing about, since I didn’t love them. If I could not return my love, I would not marry, so when I began to let it get to me, I was reminded that no marriage is better than a bad marriage. If I didn’t love her and she didn’t love me, no one would win. I didn’t want to hurt anyone or be hurt by someone, so I stopped dating altogether, but of course, that’s when I met be beloved wife. That’s when I realized that God alone truly satisfies. Until I found my satisfaction in God, then nothing would satisfy me. Only God satisfies us in Christ. He is enough. Infinitely more than enough! Only then did I understand that no human relationship can fill that void. Eventually, I fell flat on my face from brokenness and loneliness. I thought I was alone by not having a wife, but what God was trying to tell me was if I didn’t find my satisfaction in Him, then I would never find it. What a great lesson I learned. Only by breaking my heart God could enter in. God cannot fix what is first not broken, and only when I emptied myself, of myself, was God able to fill me. But first, like the Prodigal Son, I had to come to my senses (Luke 15:7). Unless the Prodigal was humbled and broken, he would have never gone home to his father.
In the Fire
You probably know that gold becomes more valuable the more it’s passed through the fire. That’s why 24 carat gold is more valuable than 14 carat gold. Twenty-four carat gold is more pure than 14 carat because it’s been put to the heat more. Fire is a great purifier because it burns away everything that is not gold, and so in the same way, God may be allowing us to pass through a fiery trial in order that we’ll see how strong or weak our faith in Him. It’s not that He needs to know how strong or weak our faith is, but so we’ll know. Trials can often strengthen our need for God and make us suddenly, prayer warriors. I’m sure that’s what God wants, so don’t take trials the wrong way. It’s not that He needs to know more about our faith because He is omniscient (knows all), but it’s possible that He wants to reveal how strong or weak our faith is. The reality is, coming through a trial can strengthen our faith in Him, and it can deepen our dependence on Him…both of which are great. God allows the fire “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1st Pet 1:7). It’s not meant to harm you but help you and strengthen your trust in Him, because when you come out of the fiery furnace, you’ll see how God is purifying you and growing you. When did the ancient gold refiners know when the gold was finally purified? When they saw their own reflection, so when God has purified us, it is intended to reflect more of what Christ is like.
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The Voice of Others
I am so thankful we have the Word of God, so that we can know the will of God, and I’m also thankful for the Holy Spirit speaks to us and illuminates Scripture, but often God may use the voice of other believers to speak to you and to me. That’s what the primary role of the prophet was in the Old Testament was. They spoke for God and spoke the Words of God. It was, “Thus says the Lord,” and not “Thus says Jeremiah,” so your friends might not be speaking the Word of God or a word from God, but they might be speaking the wisdom of God as revealed in Scripture. We should love our friends so much that we’re willing to offend them when we see the living in serious sin. The most unloving thing we can do is remain silent. On the other hand, if they see something in our life that troubles them, God may use them to speak some sense into us. It is absolutely true that “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov 27:6). If we ignore godly advice from those brothers and sisters around us, we do so to our own harm. Before we shrug off a fellow believer’s comment, think about it…they might be right. If they are, confess it to God and admit it to your friend, and say, “Thank you enough to tell me the truth.” God’s Word comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. That’s what friends do too. Let those wounds from your friend be seen as an act of love, which it is, because “Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue” (Prov 28:23). That too is a true and faithful saying.
I must admit that I am a little (or a lot?) thick headed because God has had to really get my attention by using some very extreme circumstances, however, even this is done in love. What parent wouldn’t discipline their child for playing too close to the street? God may take us through some hard times or the fires of tribulation, or He might try to use the voice of a friend who loves us enough to speak the truth, just as Nathan the Prophet did to King David… and I’m pretty sure Nathan didn’t look forward to that, but God may use others to get our attention. Whatever means God uses, the clearest voice of God is in the outer Word, the Bible, illuminated by the inner Word, the Holy Spirit, and these always point to the Living Word, Jesus Christ. God already tells us a lot through the written Word of God.