John 8:47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
The NABRE states it this way: “…because you do not belong to God.”
This is a very bold and startling statement, but it answers the question, “God, is what I am thinking from You – is this an answer from You?” We have trouble separating our own worldly voice or thoughts from God’s. How do we belong to God or are of God so that we hear His Words?
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
First of all, we accept Jesus as our Messiah, God’s Son, as our Savior. He is the only way to having a relationship with his Father, Yahweh. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we then receive holy spirit which allows us to commune with God and Jesus Christ. Then, we make him Master in our lives, living by what he taught us in the Scriptures.
John 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
How do sheep follow their shepherd? They listen for his voice, they watch him, and follow him, trusting him to know the way. If the sheep have run away or become lost, the sheep will not respond to the shepherd’s voice. Sheep become fearful easily. When they hear the voice of the shepherd, they calm down and follow.
The analogy goes a bit further in that the shepherd is generally someone tending the flocks for a master or owner. Jesus Christ always does his Father’s will. We follow Christ, and we are obeying God.
John 8:29 And He [God] Who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”
Secondly, we must figure out how to belong to God through His Son, Jesus Christ. The basics of prayer, are all necessary for us to build a loving relationship with Yahweh God. When we pray, we have to remember that building a relationship means we have to listen and listen well. That is a hard one for most of us. We want to talk and control the conversation. With humility and reverence, we listen intently for God’s voice.
Thirdly, we need to watch what is going on around us to see what God is doing. If my thoughts are continually a rapid stream of consciousness – going from one thought to another and to another and then maybe back to the first thought and then on to something else entirely unrelated – we do not give any space to be mindful of what is going on around us and listening for wisdom from Yahweh.
In one minute, I can think of two hundred different things. I can be busy in my mind about all the things I need to do and who said this or that; what to prepare for dinner; where to go next; did I remember someone’s birthday? My thoughts can go to things such as do I have to prepare dinner again? I’m tired of always being the one cooking. Can’t someone else do this? Argh and groan. When my thoughts are in this worldly mode, I am missing opportunities to really connect with those around me and my Heavenly Father.
Lastly, as we build a loving relationship with Yahweh through prayer and Scripture and experiencing His love, we will be more apt to be thinking according to the Word of God and not the world’s thoughts. We absolutely will be thinking one or the other. There is no grey area. We either have faith that Yahweh will prompt us what we need to know, or we will be of the world thinking and doing worldly things, missing an opportunity to do godly tasks. When we get our eyes off of ourselves and work on a love relationship with Yahweh, we begin to be the followers of Christ that we desire to be.
Back to the original question, “How do I belong to God?”
John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
To the first point, we need to have our hearts abiding or dwelling with Jesus Christ. This is foundational. Without Christ, we can do NOTHING. Oh, maybe we can be successful in a career, have a nice car, assist at soup kitchens for benevolent work. But to do spiritually meaningful, Kingdom-focused work, we cannot do Yahweh’s work on our own. We must dwell in Christ.
We pray. It can be as simple as, “God, please help me to know You and Your Son, and to obey Your voice.” Then we begin to watch around us for blessings, good things to be thankful for and where we can serve. We have an opportunity to love Yahweh right now.
We may argue that Moses had a burning bush to help him to know it was God. Gideon watched intently as an angel burned up a meal on a rock. Jonah was brought back from the dead after he was swallowed and vomited from a large fish’s belly. We may think if we had that kind of communication, we would really listen. Like us, Moses had his hard time accepting what God told him to do. Gideon lacked faith and asked for more and more signs. Jonah did as God told him, begrudgingly, but he did it. All three and the rest of the prophets all had a love relationship with Yahweh. They loved Him, and He them. They respected His Word, listened to Him, and did their best to obey Him. Yahweh had such mercy upon them and helped them where they were weak. He will do the same for us. Do we accept the “sign” of the cross? Jesus was in the grave three days and three nights. Do we believe this sign? Do we have to have a “sign” or big event to be in relationship with Yahweh God? Our BIG event is to be still, to listen in prayer, to read Scripture, and put it in our hearts so we do not sin against God.
How do we belong to God? Jesus tells us how.
Matthew 22:37-38 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.
The hardest part for most of us is to stop being anxious about everything – worrying, fussing, and fretting. When we are doing these ungodly habits, we are far from the peace of God that He can give us. The remedy is to quiet our minds. What is so bad right now that God and I can’t take care of it? Nothing. What is more important right now than God loving me and me loving Him? NOTHING. I can control my thoughts to be whole, sound, spiritual thoughts of kindness, forgiveness, humility, edification of others and self, love, mercy, and peace. We then will have no question of “Is that You, Yahweh?” We will know it is.
George Mueller was a British Christian who never asked anyone for help, only Yahweh. Through his dedicated prayer life and rich love relationship with Yahweh, he helped feed and house thousands of orphans. He remarked that when he prayed, he got rid of his will and wanted to know only God’s will in a matter. We empty ourselves of our will, anxieties, and fears, and dwell in a love relationship with Yahweh and Christ. In doing so, we will have, in God’s timing, the answers we need to live successfully for Him. Such joy and peace are available. You need answers? Start with loving Yahweh with your whole heart, soul, and mind.