Dec2WedDecember 2, 2015
Listening is essential to every relationship that we cherish. Husbands and wives must listen to one another to enjoy a healthy balance of love and mutual respect. Friends must listen to one another in order to build an authentic and lasting relationship. Parents must listen to their children in order to receive wisdom for how to lead them in maturity. Children must listen to their parents in order to avoid destructive decisions. Now, how important is listening in your relationship with God?
Most of us would easily admit that listening to the Lord is important but would also freely admit that listening for the voice of God is really hard. The hardest part is that we don’t hear from God in His audible voice. This certainly can happen in the life of a believer, but it’s very, very rare. For most of us, we listen for the Lord with a lot of faith – faith that he hears us and faith that he will speak to us. We learn to trust that Psalm 116:1-2 is true “The Lord has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy, because He has inclined His ear to me, I will call upon Him.”
This past Sunday, we explored our need to listen to the Lord by admitting our spiritual thirst, to linger in in a posture of humility, to ask the Spirit to lead us to Jesus and to invite the Spirit to change our identity. These are important to prepare us for listening, but how do we know when God actually speaks to us? Here are some examples that may be helpful for you: Sometimes God may speak in a still, small voice – like someone whispering your name from the corner of the room. He may overwhelm your spirit and place bold words or phrases in your mind. Sometimes God may draw near to you in a vision or dream. He may bring a Bible verse or the name of a person to mind in order to speak to your spirit. Sometimes God may speak to you through the preaching or reading of His Word or through an experience while worshipping or fasting. God may also speak to you through circumstances of ‘coincidence’ or ‘timely’ conversations with other believers. Each time we believe that God has spoken, it will always align with Scripture, point us to Jesus and be for our good. I only mention these because we need to test the spiritual voice to see whether it is really from God (1 John 4:1) because we can be so easily deceived.
The advent of Christ is upon us and the prophet of Isaiah calls us to “listen diligently to the Lord” and “incline our ear to him” (Is 55:2b-3a). During this season, I encourage you to do just that. Listen for the Lord. Linger in His presence. If we value His voice and our walk with Him, we will need to re-turn our ear. Who knows what may happen if we do!