Is it possible that God is trying to speak to us and we’re pretending to listen?
If you are like me, your mind is constantly analyzing, assessing, deciding, and working every moment of every day. Sometimes it’s hard for me to sit down and shut up – to be silent – yet I know I must, especially if I am to discern God’s will for this ministry and me. I have learned that shutting my mouth and sitting in silence is a virtue. It is in this silence that we hear to integrate what we hear our Father is saying into our being. He speaks to us in several different ways. Perhaps it is through a passage from Scripture. Perhaps it is through the voice of a loved one. Perhaps He speaks directly to your heart in prayer, giving you His peace. Perhaps it is via a whisper as you sit silently. But do we hear?
It is with difficulty for me to hear when I always seem to have a lot to say to God. I fail many times at letting Him get a word in edgewise when I pray. I pour my heart out to Him in prayer, and I make an attempt to listen to my Father so that He can speak to my heart. But sometimes He doesn’t get much of a chance with me jabbering away. Many of us are petitioning God for so many things. We are repeatedly asking, as if He didn't hear us the first time. But have you ever considered that He heard you but you aren't listening?
It is true that one of the keys to life and good relationships is effective communication. And for effective communication to occur, there must be effective listening. This is true not only in developing relationships with one another, but in our relationship with God as well. Listening to God is like listening to anyone-before you can hear Him; you must be ready to listen. Just as in a conversation, you cannot hear the other person if you are talking or if your mind is distracted. So it is with God.
I know for many years, He was trying to speak to me. I ignored sometimes deliberately but many times unknowingly. I would not let my thoughts get below the surface level and I allowed the noise of the world to drown Him out. But eventually He got my attention and I began to listen and not just listen but willingly saying, "Yes" to what He told me. Now that I put myself in a position to hear, my life has a whole new meaning.
Many times we miss out on hearing God’s voice because we don’t know how He speaks. But we know from scripture that His voice is that of a loving, kind and devoted Shepherd. Commit with me today to meditate to hear His voice. Sit down, shut up and take the time to listen because He desires that we hear His Voice not only today but always.
I encourage you to put yourself in a listening attitude. Solomon urged, "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God" (Eccl. 5:2). Instead of getting to your list of requests, sit still and ask the question that Samuel ask in 1 Samuel 3:1-10, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening"…not “Listen Lord for your servant is speaking.” Then expect God to remind you of a Scripture passage or to put a thought in your mind. If you have already decided what you think God wants to say, you will close your heart to any other thoughts from Him, so allow Him to say anything He wants to you.
Listening to the voice of God is active and participatory. Listening doesn’t always mean quietness, but attentiveness. In the midst of a powerful song, God may speak to you about something in your life. In the midst of a sermon, your mind may be drawn to something the Spirit is trying to speak to you. Go with it…Listening is not about the sermon or the song– but it is about an encounter that tunes us into the Spirit so that we can do what God has called us to be.
When we seek to listen to God we gain clarity, a deeper relationship with our Father, direction, assurance, and guidance. We can gain all of these things by just listening.
Are you ready to listen?
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