Learning to Hear

Religion

The other evening, the Lord told me…

Some of you immediately thought, “I don’t believe that’s true.” Others thought, “Well, what did He say?” And, finally, some would say, “I wish He would speak to me.”
It is this last group that I want to primarily address today.

I would suggest that God is willing and eager to speak, but that He generally speaks only to those who are willing and eager to respond appropriately. Much like a parent or a spouse, God communicates best with those who demonstrate an appreciation for what He has to say.

So how do we demonstrate our willingness to respond appropriately? By doing those things that we already know He has said.

We have the Word of God – the Bible – in which God has spoken clearly. He has given us the redemptive history of creation, the story of many who have heard and followed Him, and much guidance about how we ourselves can honor Him. He has given clear warnings about actions that are harmful to us and our world, informed us of thoughts and attitudes that always produce negative consequences for us and others, and told us of means available to each of us to strengthen our faith, deepen our walk, and enlarge our testimony.

If we ignore what He wrote to us, why should we be surprised if He doesn’t communicate with us in other ways?

In addition to His written Word, God invites us to spend time with Him. Some of this time might be in a fellowship group with others – which has the added benefit of hearing from trusted friends how God communicates with them; but God desires that we spend quiet and private time with Him. This might be time in prayer, where we honestly tell Him the things on our heart. This might also be time meditating on His written Word, where we seriously contemplate its meaning and application in our lives.

If we won’t spend time with Him – valuable time, time when we could be doing other things – when should we expect Him to get our attention so as to be able to communicate more personally with us?

After we spend time reading, then meditating and contemplating on His Word, we must honestly do the things He instructs us to do. In our culture, we have perhaps too heavy an emphasis on being “saved by grace.” We are, in fact, saved by God’s grace. But our lives are, in fact, good or bad and strong or weak by our doing or not doing what God instructs us to do.

If it is unclear that we would obey or honor what was said if God spoke to us, why should He speak?

So, to those who believe that God can and does speak and who would like to hear Him speak to them:

Are you a student of the things God has already clearly said?

Are you applying in your life those things you learn in His written Word?

Are you spending valuable time quietly before Him?

If you are doing these things and still doubt that God speaks to you in appropriate ways, comment and I will respond in future articles. I also plan to address the others I described in the introduction.

Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. Isaiah 58:9

Original article ran on July 1, 2011

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