Either we press into an ever-deepening, hearing-from-God relationship, or we settle for someone else’s voice as the primary authority of our lives. It is a simple choice.
I have been enjoying a fresh read of Dallas Willard’s Hearing God in which he addresses this issue as squarely as I have heard it:
From the humility and generosity of his great heart, Moses said, “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!” (Num 11:29). But this might be a mixed blessing, for one further serious objection to individual believers’ living in a conversational relationship with God comes from a feeling that this would lead to chaos in the church, the community of believers…
Such logic drives toward a hierarchy of authority and subordination and naturally results in one person’s speaking for God and thus enforcing conformity.
Willard goes on to say that the ‘redeemed community’ is meant to be made up of ‘living stones’ who live ‘in conversation with God.’ But, due to the hierarchy of religious structures, we too often find leadership is focused on ‘getting others to do as they are told.’
They [such leaders] will invariably turn to controlling the flock through their own abilities to organize and drive, all suitably clothed in a spiritual terminology and manner.
And, let us be honest, this happens because so many followers prefer giving this authority to someone else rather than take responsibility for the supreme task (and joy) of learning the ways and voice of God through our deepening relationship with Him.
As Willard says, “God has created us for intimate friendship with himself—both now and forever.”
When we grasp this, it becomes the central focus of our lives as we take on both the challenges and joys of developing such a friendship.
Today there is a desperate need for large numbers of people throughout various arenas of life to be competent and confident in their practice of life in Christ and in hearing his voice. Such people would have the effect of concretely redefining Christian spirituality for our times. They would show us an individual and corporate human existence lived freely and intelligently from a hand-in-hand, conversational walk with God. That is the biblical ideal for human life.
Isn’t this the very heart of the spiritual revolution that God is after for his people, the church, in this day?