Hearing from the Lord and Reading His Word
Often people tell me that the Lord doesn't talk to them the way He does me and they wonder why. I can't say for sure, but I do have a suspicion of what the reason might be. You see, He didn't always talk to me the way He does now nor was it daily like it is now. But for almost 10 years now, I have spent approximately 5 to 8 hours every single day doing nothing other then reading/studying God's Word and talking to Him. Prior to that, I would have been doing real well to have spent one hour a day doing that!
So as you can easily see, because of being hurt, I have been given the chance to grow this close to Him. I've probably grown more in the last 10 years then I would have grown in literally 70 years if I hadn't been hurt. I have found over the years that the more time you spend with Him, both in prayer, listening, talking to Him etc. (in other words not just what I think of as "formal prayer" but also casual talking to Him,) and the more time you spend in His Word talking to Him about it as you read and study it, that the closer you will become to Him. (I describe that in this post)
Struggling is good Kathy, as long as you're doing your best to keep in a close relationship with the Lord by spending time with Him and studying His Word, then I'm sure you too will hear those words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant!" We all struggle. There are many days that the very last thing I "feel" like doing is opening that Bible. I just plain don't "want" to. But I do it anyway, and the Lord always rewards me for that effort. I always come away feeling better afterward, because when I open that Book, I can't help but talk to Him at the same time as I'm reading ...saying things like, "what do you mean here Lord?" "How does that help me Lord", "how can I do this Lord" "but what about...?" Does this go along with what I was reading the other day"? etc. and He answers and the lesson begins... and when it's done, I always feel so much better that I wonder how I could have ever resisted in the first place. Till the next day and it starts again lol The Lord always rewards obedience though although not always instantly.
It always starts with the first step, not just once, but every single day for each one of us. It will be like that until the rapture or death when our sin nature will finally be gone. So you're not alone hon. We all struggle every day. Especially when we're trying to do it on our own instead of with and/or through Him. The closer you get to Him though, the more clearly you hear Him, then that I think makes the rewards of obedience sweeter. At least it has for me. I know I still have a very long way to go, but as long as I stick close to Him, I know I'm OK.
While I certainly realize that most people cannot afford to spend the amount of time I do with the Lord each day, that's a rare privilege He's given me due to the pain I live with, but most people can spend more time with Him then they currently do. All I can tell you is that the more time you spend with Him, the closer you will get to Him, and Him with you, and the more He will speak to you and the more you will hear Him. You will begin to treasure that time eventually and it will draw you to spend even more time with Him and share more with Him.
I hope this helps some. I figured I'd post this here for everyone because I found that when I hear a question from one or two people that there are often a lot of others thinking the same thing that simply haven't said anything about it yet.
Everyone goes through this that is born again. If you don't nip it in the bud then it just gets worse and worse until you get to where you're not reading the bible at all. Next will be giving up the devotionals as well. The longer you let it go, the harder it is to set things right. God is not going to magically make you want to study His Word. He does expect us to take the first steps ourselves at the very least. This is when we have to do as Paul did:
1 Corinthians 9:27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
God tells us over and over not to trust our "feelings" and that we are to "strive" (that means work) to do what is right. Jesus Himself told us that we must deny ourselves. That means giving up some things that we do for "pleasure" or that we just "want to do" to do those things that He expects us to do.
Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Like Colou said, we constantly make choices every day. Whether or not we realize it, our choices are always based on what is truly the most important thing to us. The longer we stay away from God's Word the further away from Him we drift and the less important He becomes to us; and thus the harder it is to get back to it. This is partly due to our sin nature and partly due to Satan and his demons. However, the worst part is the longer we let it go on, the easier it is for Satan and our flesh to way lay us and cause us to live in unrepentant sin, cause us to leave our first love and begin to do things as the world does. We then become slaves to sin instead of to righteousness.
Jesus warns all of us of the consequences of allowing this to happen:
Revelation 2:4-5 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
Being a Christian isn't easy. It's probably the hardest "job" there is. We must constantly "beat our bodies" into submission like Paul said as well as "beating our minds into submission" as he says in Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
There is nothing more rewarding then living in obedience though, for then we are able to rest in Him as long as we remember to keep Him as our focus constantly.
He will help you if you ask Him too, but He will expect you to do as He says in His Word and discipline yourself to do what you should. When that becomes your habit, as you continue to spend time with Him and in His Word, you'll begin to find that there's no place you'd rather be.
It can be helpful to set up a reading plan to read the bible through in a year. There are lots of web sites that allow you to set up your own reading plans if you do a search for them. The important thing to keep in mind is to not just "read" the bible, but instead, read it, study it, and reflect on what you've just read and studied throughout the day. Talk to the Lord as you're reading. Make your reading time a special time for just the two of you. Ask Him questions, tell Him what you're getting from what you're reading, tell Him what it reminds you of, and how you can use it in your life; ask Him what He wants you to see from it, etc. As I said, when you do all this, this time can become something very special and intimate for you.
I would like to clarify something though. It is not just through the study of His Word, but it through our close personal relationship with Him AND our study of His Word that we get what we need. He and His Word is our strength. Nor can someone who is not saved gain the same things by studying God’s Word. The Lord tells us that only those of us who have been saved and have the Holy Spirit within us understand His Word. Worldly, unsaved people can study God’s Word all their lives and get as many degrees as they want and they still won’t really understand the first thing about it. They can’t. (1 Corinthians 2:10-14 )
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Ephesians 4:11-16 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Hebrews 5:11-6:3 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.
James 1:2-5 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
1 Corinthians 9:27, Luke 9:23, Revelation 2:4-5, Revelation 3:19, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Corinthians 2:10-14, Ephesians 4:11-16, Hebrews 5:11-6:3, James 1:2-5, 2 Timothy 2:15