How noisy is the world in which you live? TV. Music. The phone. Kids. Sports. The clamoring of the office. Social media. Traffic. The generic noise of the city. Something is always on. And in today’s climate, someone is always screaming about something.
The world is a noisy place.
And, many times, the world’s noise is a powerful enemy against Overflow living. In Overflow living, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit always go first. I am a receiver of their Divine love and activity. But how can I receive if my life is too noisy to hear?
Right before Jesus was crucified, He stood before the local leader of the Roman Empire, Pontius Pilate. What a crazy scene – the Son of God and the representative for the dominant world government. In part of their exchange, Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from this world” (John 18:36-37).
You must see that that the LIFE Jesus came to give is not from this world.
Jesus came from Heaven to earth and brought with Him a way of LIFE, a way of experiencing your time on earth, that you cannot find in the world. In fact, Jesus says in John 7:37-38 that His way of LIFE is generated by the Holy Spirit, not a university or a company or a zip code or a bank account.
Scripture teaches that the world’s way of life is actually an enemy to Overflow. All of the world’s noise is not idle to your faith. The world’s noise actively works against your ability to learn and enjoy Overflow. Read how concerned the Apostle Paul is for his disciples in Rome when he writes Romans 12:1-2,
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
For eleven chapters, Paul has powerfully argued that Overflow LIFE is available by grace through Jesus by the Holy Spirit. In 12:1, he urges disciples to give themselves fully to this life by placing their entire bodies on the altar of sacrifice. Consequently, they can fully live the LIFE. In Romans 12:2 Paul warns his people against a very effective enemy that can choke out this promised LIFE. That enemy is the world!
Paul highlights that the world seeks to “conform” people to its ways. How does the world conform people? Noise. Through the constant pressure of the world’s messaging, people are led away from resting in “God goes first” to believing all sorts of teachings. But, regardless of the specifics of the world’s teaching, one thing is constant – you will be responsible for your life.
Overflow, the biblical teaching of God’s generating work, is the only place where life is lived by receiving. In every other way of life offered by the world, you will be responsible for everything. And you will bear all the pressure.
Paul’s antidote to the world is to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Only with a mind that is being transformed can you learn how to discern God our Father’s will for you in the Overflow of His love and faithfulness. But, in order for your mind to be transformed, your attention must be taken off the noise of the world so that you can discover the joy and wonder of resting in the supernatural frequency of God.
So, how much do you struggle with quiet?
How much do struggle with being still? Do you know it is possible to be still and yet be filled with noise? Where is all that noise coming from in your life? Are you ready to turn down the world’s volume so that you can tune in to the Holy Spirit?
One helpful exercise is to write down all the sources of noise in your life. For the sources on your list that are effective at drowning out your Father, repent. Ask for forgiveness for choosing to give your time and attention to those.
To be sure, I am not talking about replacing secular music with Christian music. Christian music can be just more noise. I am talking about learning how to be comfortable in silence. For one year, I did not have the radio on while I was in the car. I loved it. Now, I regularly have the radio off. The lack of noise can be beautiful.
Overflow LIFE is not silent, but its volume does not match the chaotic tempo of the world. Overflow LIFE doesn’t sound like a constant car crash. God’s Shepherd-leading is peace-filled and confident.
The Apostle Paul so railed against the world as an enemy of LIFE that he wrote in Galatians 6:14, “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
As much as I would like God to speak to me with burning bushes and a booming voice, most of the time He speaks in a small quiet voice. And if we are not careful, the “noise” of the world drowns out the voice of God.
For me listening for God requires intentionality and discipline.
Waters, I know you LOVE Romans 12:1-2! What books/authors have been helpful in training you to listen to God better?