Do you ever find yourself getting caught up in trying to follow a method that worked for someone else?
You know the diet plan that work for your favorite girlfriend, the relationship advice that worked for your sister, or the 12 steps to a better you plan that plastered on the magazine cover on the rack at the checkout counter.
Method-a procedure or process for an attaining an object.
And us church folks can be some of the worst at wanting to find and follow a method. If I follow these steps precisely, I can expect x results. We like the predictable. Or I once heard a fellow blogger (Sharon, I believe) refer to it as the vending machine approach to God.
During my quiet time several months ago I was instructed to not get stuck on the methods (the particular ways God done a thing) but instead get the message. And as I read in Job the other day, I heard that whisper again when I was reflecting on this passage.
When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! Job 42:10 (NLT)
I admired Job’s willingness to pray for friends who had accused him of all kinds of wrong doing and had been more criticizers than comforters during his times of trial. And when he prayed, it seemed to unlock restoration for him.
Flippantly looking at the account of Job’s prayer and restoration, one could pass along a method of restoration as praying for those who should have supported you. But instead I heard the whisper, to don’t get stuck on the method but rather see the message—God is a God of RESTORATION.
Job’s restoration came as a result of his obedience to God’s instruction given to him.
Rather than seeking out the methods that worked for sister or brother so and so, perhaps it serves us better to seek to be better listeners. Listeners to the shepherd’s voice. Job had specific instructions given to him and He obeyed. But in order to obey the instructions, he had to be a hearer of the instructions. And to be a hearer, one has to be a listener.
All throughout the scriptures, we see miracles being performed but the way it happened was often different even for those facing similar situations.
Are you following a given method because you heard someone else give testament that it worked or are you taking specific steps because you are led by the spirit of God?
The answer to that question can be the difference in the results we see in our lives.