People are always asking whether God actually still speaks directly to us, like He did in ‘the old days.’ Some think that because God isn’t speaking to us from within a bush, Exodus 3:4–22, that He doesn’t actually speak to His children at all. Or, they think that Jesus could only talk to us when He was in human form on earth—like the time He told Peter to walk on the water. Mathew 14:27–31. But God is still speaking directly to us in the twenty-first century. We just have to keep listening for Him.
I want to give you a real life example of God speaking to us. Because I’ve heard God talking to me a lot ever since I started listening, but this time was just too plain not to share. Obviously, like every one of my stories, this one requires a bit of background.
Law school is hard. Have I said that before? But it’s not the rigorous academic nature of law school that makes it hardest. It’s the competition and the innate instinct to constantly compare yourself to others. A lot of people want to be number one in the class. Including me. Spoiler alert: I am not number one in my class. But I still want to be a great law student, and my current struggle is to constantly compare myself to others—wondering why I try so hard, but am never as great as I want to be.
This semester I have tried (unsuccessfully) to stop comparing myself to others. I have tried to tell myself that the competition does not matter, that I just have to stay focused on the reason I came here: God’s purpose.
Finally, I tried writing ‘Focus’ on my wrist. I drew a horizontal line underneath the word to signify that in God’s eyes we are all equal. See, e.g., Romans 3:23. Then I drew three vertical lines to indicate that the only being who is not equal is God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. See, e.g., Proverbs 22:2. I decided I was going to keep this symbol on my wrist until I had a complete attitude adjustment that helped me avoid comparing myself to others or despairing that I wasn’t good enough.
Fast forward to my church’s Sunday sermon several days later (with ‘Focus’ still written on my wrist). The sermon was based on Luke 9:23–26, but the pastor specifically noted Luke 9:24—“[f]or whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
The pastor then tried to illustrate what the verse meant by talking about people who wanted to be the best at whatever they do. A teacher who wanted to be the greatest teacher ever, but ended up being only average. Or a mother who wanted to be the greatest mother ever, but ended up feeling inadequate. Or a husband who wanted to be the greatest husband ever, but never felt he was good enough.
Here’s where you can insert the exact problem I’ve been having: a student who wants to be number one in her class, but can barely get all of her homework done every week.
Now I was pretty sure that God was speaking directly to me, so I perked up my ears. Our pastor said the reason we can’t be the best at what we do is because of a disease called ‘Selfism.’ Still listening.
Then the pastor said there was one word for how we could cure Selfism. “Focus,” he said. What??? Did he really just say the one word I thought he said? The word I wrote on my wrist a few days ago to fix this exact problem? Yes, he said “Focus.”
The pastor spent the rest of the sermon talking about how we can be the best at what we do. He used Paul as an example, where Paul said he was dead and it was Christ who lived in him (Galatians 2:20). Paul’s focus made him one of the best missionaries we’ve ever had. Not because Paul was trying to be the best missionary of all time, but because he was focused on the mission God gave him when his old self died.
Just like that, God used a Sunday morning to remind me that He still speaks to us. All the time. And He verified that right now I am supposed to be focusing on His mission. Not on how I can be the best at whatever I do. He reminded me that I can be the best at completing His mission for my life when I stay focused on that goal.
This isn’t the first time God has used a sermon or a devotion to speak directly to me. But it is certainly one of the most obvious times God has spoken directly to me. In case you’re wondering, He is speaking to all of us. We just have to listen for him. Just for the record—Moses didn’t have to hear God speak to him through the burning bush. He made a conscious decision to walk over to that bush.
If you’re wondering whether God still speaks to us in 2018, my challenge for you is to listen harder. He is speaking. See what He says. It’s an incredible journey.
Katherine Wenner is a law student at Wake Forest University and currently holds the position of cousin to Caleb. She has a heart for agriculture, specifically in helping with agricultural legislation. Katherine drinks her lattes nonfat, no foam, and extra hot, just in case anyone who has read this chooses to treat her. For fun, she listens to Supreme Court oral arguments when she’s running. Katherine dreams of being a comedian one day but she just isn’t funny enough to make the cut (her words, not ours).