Are you listening? Do you even care?
My feelings are hurt when someone is not listening to me.
I wonder how God feels when we don’t listen to Him?
Listening to God is a challenge in our world of constant input, noise and chatter. Facebook, Twitter, media, news, people, books, entertainment and information come at us 24/7.
As Elijah discovered in 1 Kings 19:12, God’s voice comes in “the sound of a gentle whisper.”
In order to hear that whisper, my heart and soul need to be focused on Him. I need to stop and listen. Yes, He speaks to me through His written Word, the majesty of creation and messages from others. But often, He speaks quietly to my heart to give me direction. (Note: He’ll never lead me to do what goes against His written Word.)
How can I hear His voice if I never listen?
The times I’ve listened to His voice are times I’ve experienced Him working in and through my life. A few years ago, as I was praising God in church, I felt His whisper tell me to start coming early on Sunday mornings to pray for the church. I told myself it was just my thoughts. (After all, it would mean coming early and separate from my family) The next Sunday during worship I heard His whisper again. “Ask the pastor if you can start a prayer group on Sunday mornings.”
I wish I could say I responded immediately but it took hearing His voice over three or four Sundays before I did. I asked Him, “What if no one else comes?” He told me, “I want you to do this even if you’re the only one who ever comes.” So I did. I was alone one or two Sundays until a wonderful couple joined me. We have been meeting early on Sunday mornings for around five years now and it is a blessed time.
Often when I write a word of encouragement to someone or want to give advice, I ask Jesus to confirm it in my heart. I’ll say before I hit send or speak, “Should I send this?” “Is this the right thing to do or say?” And I listen for His yes or no. In that moment I let His peace guide me. Recently I did this with a message I sent to a friend and was blown away by how much it meant to her. God used it in her life because it was His love reaching out to her. I was only an instrument.
I want to live this way. I want to be more in tune with Him and more intentional about listening for His voice in my heart and obeying. Also, any time I don’t have peace about something, I need to examine my heart, talk to Him and find out why.
I want to live as it says in Isaiah 30:21, “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.”
As Ann Voskamp so eloquently puts it, “The only way to a sincerely God-obedient life — is to live a sincerely Listening Life.” She is writing here about listening to the hearts of those around us, but it begins with listening to Him.
Sometimes that’s reading the Bible and obeying it as the revealed will of God. Sometimes we hear a message from a speaker or friend and the Holy Spirit convicts us to make a change in life or habit. But often it is listening and responding to His voice in our hearts. When I’m wondering what His will is, I may realize I haven’t done the most obvious thing – ask Him. Should I go? Is this what you want me to do? What I love most is when His whisper leads me to a hurting heart only He can help and He gives me the privilege of offering encouragement.
Does He always tell me exactly what to do? No. Sometimes I need to act based on His written Word and what I know pleases Him. Sometimes He leaves the decision to me. But often He guides me with His gentle whisper.
Please share about a time you listened and how He led you.
Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions:
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