Listen Up

Scripture says, “If you hear God speak today, don’t be stubborn. Don’t be stubborn like those who rebelled.”

Hebrews 3:15 GW

Jesus answered, “Scripture says, ‘A person cannot live on bread alone but on every word that God speaks.’”

Matthew 4:4 GW

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been on a quest for truth. Before I became a believer, I took a course that surveyed all the major religions of the world. I even had the conscious thought, “I’ll try Christianity last since it’s the default religion of the West.”

Sad to say, but that’s how my unregenerate mind worked. I wanted to explore all the options and make up my mind for myself. I wasn’t simply going to accept something as truth without putting it to the test.

Well, I’m happy to report that Christianity is the last faith I examined and it has been my faith for over 25 years. I still remember those early days as if it was yesterday. Life suddenly had meaning. There was Someone I could rely on who had the answers. God made Himself known to me and I was born again.

The first thing I did was start reading the Bible, out loud, to my cat. I’m not sure if he understood what I was saying, then again, neither do I. But I came across the part in the Gospels that said we must be baptized. That’s when I started going to church.

I also remember reading in the Bible how God spoke to people. More than anything, I wanted to hear God’s voice. I think that’s one of the major things that separates Christianity from other religions. Our God speaks. He desires a close, personal relationship with us. He loves us as His very own children.

The more I read the Bible and learned from other believers, the more aware I became of the different ways that God speaks to us. I won’t write about that here today. The purpose of today’s post is to encourage you to listen to God.

Why should we listen to God? For starters, He’s God – all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present – God. God has a plan. God has a purpose. God’s plan and purpose cannot be stopped. He is the captain of the winning team. Do you want to be a winner? Follow God. Do you want to be a loser? Do anything else besides follow God.

As you can see, there’s only one, narrow road to eternal life. The way of destruction is wide and has numerous on-ramps. The abundant life is a one-way, one-lane road. Walking with God.

How can you follow God if you can’t hear His voice? I believe that every believer can be taught to recognize or discern God’s voice.

Why do I believe that hearing God is for every believer? Because the veil has been torn. No longer is only the high priest allowed to go into the Holy of Holies to meet with God. The Holy of Holies has been placed inside of you, in your spirit, when you got born again and received the Holy Spirit of God. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. A temple with legs, and arms, so that you can go and touch the world.

The Bible is great. I recommend you read it everyday. It gives you the big picture of God’s plan and practical tips and instructions on how to live a godly life. It’s our instruction manual. Keep yourself saturated in Scripture and you’ll easily be able to spot and defeat the strategies of the enemy.

However, there’s a lot of little decisions we need to make everyday that aren’t covered in the Bible. How do you handle those? That’s where you need to be hearing from God. Too many of us pray as if we’re ordering food at the drive-thru. This is what I want and I’m coming to collect it right now!

Any healthy relationship is built on mutual dialog. Without communication, the relationship will be strained and eventually die. Pray to God. And then pause. And listen. Quiet your mind. Find a peaceful place, free from distractions. Meditate on God’s Word. Let your requests be made known to Him. And then be silent. It takes practice. But how can you hear if you’re always talking?

God’s got all the answers you need. Be quick to listen, slow to speak. I believe He’s always talking, but we’re too busy being distracted by worldly things to even notice. Imagine how sad that must make Him. He’s like a loving Father that wants to take His kids for ice cream, but they’re too busy squabbling over toys in the sandbox to even hear Him call.

Would you like to hear God speak? The first ingredient is humility. Recognize that neither you nor anything in the world can provide you the truth that lives in God. It seems like we look for answers everywhere except in our own personal conversations with God.

Second, you need to have a pure heart before God. He won’t give us what we want if our motives are selfish. Third, we need to be obedient. If God tells you to do something, go do it. He’ll give you the strength. If you’re disobedient, why would He want to continue the conversation? Don’t waste His time and He won’t waste yours.

Finally, trust. Be free from doubt. This is where experience will build your faith. Know and believe that God has your best interest at heart. You can trust Him fully. He can take care of your past, present and future. Yield to God, submit to His ways, and be amazed at what He can do.

Lord God, help us to recognize and obey Your voice. Amen.

My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

John 10:27 NET

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