The conventional thinking is that every Christian has a relationship with God. The question remains as to what type of relationship we have and how intimate it is. Lot surely believed in the monotheistic God that Abraham had believed in. But the “thoughts and intent of the heart” of Lot were centered in living in Sodom (Hebrews 4:12). He didn’t discern the dissonance between the world of his daily life and the world from God’s perspective. Ambition, worldliness, superficiality, and consumerism of Sodom were all too alluring for him. This is evident in the spiritual attitude of his daughters, sons-in-law, and eventually his wife.

The underlying status of his heart was worldliness instead of willingness. In the mind of a believer, worldliness tries to use the power of God to accomplish human plans, while willingness of heart uses the power of God to accomplish His plans. First, the human-centered me-ness must be given up for the God-centered Him-ness. Without this surrender, so-called Christians may mistake their own feelings, thoughts, ambitions, motives, and desires for the workings of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is misinterpreted, selectively interpreted, or not read at all. In Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 5, Ellen White writes, “Until you have the resolution to obey God’s will you cannot have His guidance” (511).

Daily we must apply God’s Word and seek the Lord to see if there are sins and selfish thinking in us. This consists of reflection on the past, heartfelt prayer, and honest interaction with Scripture. How have we conducted ourselves in our finances, health stewardship, social interactions, thoughts, attitudes, words, actions, and desires? To discover some wrongful offense should come as no surprise to us. Yes, it’s painful, but it is to be surrendered, repented of, and even despised. Praise the Lord that He is merciful and willing to forgive to the uttermost (Psalm 103:8–14)!

After these selfish voices are acknowledged and surrendered, the voice of God becomes clearer to reveal what His will may be. This is the beginning of a devotional life. Without this time invested in developing a relational foundation with God, He may have revealed His will to us already, but we would not have understood it, acknowledged it, or obeyed it due to our self-absorption. When we are made willing by God’s powerful grace, His voice becomes clearer and we learn to become even more willing each day, not only for the current decisions that need to be made but also for the long-term, larger decisions that lead up to the final events of earth’s history.