Here we go again. Another one of those mornings when I wake up, put on a few audio devotionals and hear God speak in parallel places. You know – when the exact message is delivered to your “inbox” and you just shake your head.
First, it started with Craig Denison, from First 15. The topic for the day was hearing from God. Posing the question, can we hear the voice of God? He went on to propose that we do so through scripture, through other people, and through circumstances. But equally important is the availability of hearing Him in our own heart, mind, and soul. As the conversation went on, he encouraged us to get quiet. To contemplate the question of hearing from Him and whether it’s possible to do so just in our knowing.
Then I decided to listen to the Bible in One Year on the YouVersion Bible App; which I do every morning. It’s narrated in an opening devotional by Nicky Gumbel from HTB in England. What do you think the topic was? You got it – listening to God. Nicky started, “Suppose I go to the doctor and say, ‘Doctor, I have a lot of problems: I twisted my knee… my eyes itch… my finger is swollen… I have a backache…’ Then, having gone through my list of complaints, I look at my watch and say, ‘Goodness me, time is getting on. I must be off.’ The doctor might say, ‘Hang on, do you not want to hear what I have to say?’”
If we only speak TO God and never take time to listen, we make the same mistake. Our relationship with God is meant to be a two-way conversation. Get the point?
This often happens in my own spiritual walk. I throw out my requests and don’t stick around long enough to hear what he has to say about it. And it may be less about the things that I need from Him and more about just connecting with Him.
In a media-saturated age, we have many voices that come to us on TV, radio, the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email and text message. We have the voices of family, friends, and colleagues. And sometimes we have the voice of Satan tempting us to disbelieve God’s Word and to doubt that God has our best interests at heart.
How do you hear the voice of God in the midst of the noise and distractions of life?
What Does the Bible Have to Say?
For example, in Proverbs 3, the main way in which God speaks to us is through what he has already spoken in the Scriptures – his “teaching” and “commands” (v.1). As you read the Bible, pray that God will speak to you and that you will hear his voice.
“Don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track” (vv.5–6, MSG).
Learning verses in the Bible is one of the ways you can write God’s word on the “tablet of your heart” (v.3).
Matthew 16:21-17:13, Listen to God through the words of Jesus. The words of Jesus are the words of God. God says, “Listen to him” (17:5). When you read Jesus’ words and take them to heart, you are listening to God.
Jesus warns his disciples to expect attack. We’re never going to avoid criticism (16:21). Twice in this passage, Jesus talks to his disciples about the suffering He is going to experience – explaining to them about the cross and resurrection (16:21; 17:9–12).
However, rather than listening to Jesus, Peter argues with him (16:22). Jesus’ rebuke to Peter is of profound importance. In every key decision we take, we must ask ourselves whether we have in mind the concerns of God or human concerns (v.23). What Jesus is saying to Peter is the heart of his mission and it has huge implications for all of His followers (vv.24–28).
Here we go again, talking instead of listening.
He Comes Through
Back in 2013, it appeared that my 34-year marriage was about to end in divorce. It was a time of terrible turmoil. I questioned everything – including my own reason for existing. What value did 34 years of marriage really have? I married my high school sweetheart – who I knew for over 40 years. It brought up more questions than answers. Can I really make this life work on my own? I wasn’t convinced that I could, and I was absolutely right. The journey must be orchestrated by God.
God took me to a place of complete surrender. Taking a deeper dive into my healing journey I headed to Colorado attending a Wild at Heart boot camp; hosted by John Eldredge and Ransomed Heart Ministries. I remember encountering God in a new and fresh way when John challenged each of the 500 men present to enter a time of listening prayer. I sat quietly in His presence taking in the beauty all around me. I asked Him what He wanted to say to me. I hadn’t done that very often. I knew at that moment when a waterfall of love was poured into my heart and deep into my soul, that I would never be the same. What a rescue. He was there, and He cared.
God showed up and showed off. I discovered the possibility of developing a deep and intimate relationship with Him. It was just the beginning of a long process, but my optimism was back. He came through time and time again. Directing me, teaching me, showing me – not just through circumstances or through his Word or even through other people – but in the moment – guiding me each step of the way. It began with a simple question around the desire to understand God’s love for me. I’ve experienced many wounds throughout my life that helped define me. I formed a view of God and view of myself that didn’t align with the truth of who He was or who I was as His child. Those lies had to be addressed. Who better to address them than Jesus himself?
I want to encourage you today; IT IS possible for you to develop a relationship with Him that goes much deeper than just the surface. He loves you. He cares about you.
Start your day with a simple question and give Him the opportunity to share His heart. Ask Him to give you a picture of His love for you. In your mind and imagination, feel His presence. Be in the moment. Listen to God. Hear His voice and enjoy the journey. Developing a conversational intimacy with Him is paramount to our growth as Christ-followers. May it be so for you, friend.