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Word of GodWhen God Speaks
By Jan Ross

What do we do when God speaks?

There is a short verse in James 4:17 that demands our attention: "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (KJV)

The Greek translation unveils some deep truths. First, the word for "to him that knoweth" is eido, which comes from a root word meaning "to perceive or to know with eyes wide open; to have knowledge; to gaze at something as remarkable with understanding."

The word for "good" gives us further understanding, as it translates as "morally and literally virtuous, honest, proper."

To him who perceives and knows, with their eyes wide open, having knowledge and understanding of something they are to do, something that is virtuous, honest, and proper, and yet they do it not, to them it is sin.

The Greek word "hamartano" translates as "to miss the mark and not share in the prize, to err, to morally sin."

I find it interesting that this Greek word for sin speaks of missing the mark and not sharing in the prize look at this:

Philippians 3:13-21 .

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like un
to his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

So what is all this saying? When God speaks, we are obligated to listen! When He speaks to us through His Word, we have understanding and are enlightened, and thereby we become accountable for what we have heard and learned. When God speaks to us that way and we don't heed His voice, it is sin. It is the kind of sin that will cause us to miss the mark or the prize of the high calling in Christ--heaven!

When God speaks and we don't heed, we have chosen destruction as our end, rather than eternal life!

The Christian life is not an easy life. We MUST subdue our flesh! Even Paul declared, "I die daily .," and yet we have come to believe that when what God asks of us is too hard, we can just rely on His mercy to forgive us while we deliberately, and with knowledge and understanding, do what we will, rather than what God has spoken to us!

My heart is heavy as I write this. So many times we take God's Word lightly, taking His leading and His counsel for granted, and not taking His holiness and His righteousness into consideration. We so easily forget that He is a God who deserves honor and respect, awe and fear, from those who are called by His name!

We are called with a calling, to fulfill a purpose in God's Kingdom, but so often continue to allow our flesh to order our steps. By doing so, we have opened the door to sin--we have departed from God's path, and embarked on a journey whereby we will ultimately miss the mark and forfeit the prize of the high calling. Instead of forgetting those things which are behind, we allow those things which are behind to rule us, lead us, and dictate to us how to live our lives!

When we consider the cross, it wasn't a pretty sight. We're admonished to pick up our cross and follow Christ. Instead, however, we want to follow Christ without the cross. We want His goodness, His blessings, His power, and provision--and we want it all without picking up our cross. All too often we fail to realize that without the cross--without dying daily to our own desires, our own flesh, our own carnal thinking and reasoning--we have no fellowship in His sufferings.

Look back a few verses in Philippians 3, and see this all fit together:

Philippians 3:10-14 ....

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

May we all diligently press toward the mark by fellowshipping in His sufferings, crucifying the flesh, as we daily conform to Him so that we can attain the resurrection of the dead; so that we can apprehend all that for which we have been apprehended by Christ--the prize of the high calling of God ... eternal life!

When God speaks .... LISTEN AND OBEY! Whether through His Word or through a small, still voice deep within your spirit ... LISTEN AND OBEY, for there's no other way!

(All Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible)
As President of Women of PASSIONS International Ministries (http://womenofpassions.net), Jan Ross is an international conference speaker, missionary, and writer. Jan has been married for 34 years and is the mother of six adult children and grandmother to twelve. She is available to minister to your women's group. You may contact Jan through her website or the Letters page of this magazine.