Archive for January, 2011

Jan 19 2011

Dissatisfaction

One of the things I see throughout John Robert Stevens’ written word is his constant determination to reach into the next thing God had for him.

The unfortunate side effect of living that kind of lifestyle is a nearly-consistent feeling of dissatisfaction.

I might have broached this topic before, but since it had recently come up for me personally, I thought I might write about it again. This dissatisfaction is something I had been feeling in my relationship with God, but I couldn’t point to anything that was “wrong.” There was no difficult situation that was getting me down. Finally, I realized that I was just hungering after more of God!

In a message called Contented or Discontented? Stevens read out of Philippians, and then wrote:

Press in—press in—press in—is the emphasis. You cannot be happy with what you have attained spiritually; there must be hunger in your heart. You will not attain more spiritually if there is discontentment in your spirit. You will not be fruitful for the Lord if there is discontentment in your spirit.*

What an interesting dichotomy involved with having a relationship with the Lord. The only time we feel content is by doing the will of God. But the only way to get to that fulfillment day-by-day is to be constantly driven toward Him through an uncomfortable hunger.

So if you’ve been feeling a little discontentment recently, don’t blame your circumstances. See if there is something more that God has for you. He is the only thing that can change that deep dissatisfaction.

  • John Robert Stevens, "Contented or Discontented?" 1972
    John Robert Stevens, "Contented or Discontented?" 1972
    Excerpt from the This Week "Contented or Discontented" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1972 by John Robert Stevens & The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.

 

Jan 11 2011

Partake of the Life of God

One of the things that I love about John Robert Stevens is that he was not religious. I use the term religious to describe the way that many humans relate to God primarily out of rules and regulations. As I quoted earlier:

I was raised in a religious background, and I remember how we were taught that we were supposed to read our Bible for 15 minutes a day, pray for 15 minutes a day and witness to somebody for 15 minutes a day—if we did all that then we would never lose out with God. I was about fourteen or fifteen when I realized: “It doesn’t make any difference how much I read; it’s how much I digest that counts.” That has been the secret of my life. After that revelation to my heart, it didn’t matter to me whether I read half a verse or whether I read a whole book. I read until one thing happened: I began to partake of the life of God.*

I believe that this attitude is the antidote for the common “Christian guilt” that often occurs. We shouldn’t focus on checking boxes on our spiritual to-do list, but instead seek God until we find Him. Of course, this is sometimes a tricky proposition, because you never know how much seeking you will have to do! It’s easier to read the Bible for 15 minutes a day, rather than reading it until you hear the voice of the Lord.

And all of life is like this, really! It’s always easier to make a relationship with God into a list of rules—and I have to admit that the Bible might even seem to encourage this. However, to borrow a phrasing from Christ for my own purposes (which is usually a very unwise thing to do, so please forgive me), “The promises of God were made for man, not man for the promises of God.” (Mark 2:27) This is the difference between religion and relationship. And it’s a big difference.

Bottom line: John Robert Stevens rejected the religious approach to God and was a firm advocate for a daily relationship with Him. I’m nearly positive that I wouldn’t be a believer if it weren’t for this attitude that was imparted to be by John through my father.

  • *John Robert Stevens, "Eat it and Digest it," 1982
    *John Robert Stevens, "Eat it and Digest it," 1982
    Excerpt from the booklet "The Unfolding, Part 1" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1982 by The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.

 

Jan 7 2011

I, myself, am nothing. At best, I am only a voice. All I want to be is a voice, speaking His Living Word. This is the one thing God gave me that I exalt. I delight to be a channel for the Word. I magnify this office, as Paul did his; but as far as taking anything to myself personally, I do not. I am not a privileged person on the human level. Every day, I take less privilege on the human level, for I believe the Lord’s people will be a humble people by their own choice.