Listening to God

“Listening to God is an important part of the Christian life. God desires to speak to us and we have the privilege of listening to His instruction and guidance. William Barclay once said, “Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest, we wait in silence for God’s voice to us.”1 http://www.allaboutprayer.org/listening-to-god-faq.htm

Sometimes we need to spend more time listening to and for God than we do telling him all about our troubles. Scripture tells us, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles; they shall run and faint not, nor get tired from the journey (paraphrased).” Listening to God involves not only hearing from Him, but also obeying him. John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

What are some practical tips from your own experience on how to better listen to and for God? Share your responses. I’d love to hear from you.

Communicate

Recently, I was involved in an incident with another person where several people were negatively impacted by words. In a rather loosely, and I admit less than clear attempt to communicate, I was met with less than kind words. This escalated when someone else attempted to coach and counsel.  Their advice was refused. The person felt justified in their communication, and no amount of reasoning from the coach was going to changed their position.  And now, their verbal assault changed direction from me to the coach. Surprised by the stubborn refusal to listen and learn, the coach changed his approach and  left well enough alone.

I shared this, because we often feel justified in our communication methods.  This is the way I did it, and so be it.  They can take it, or leave it.  I’m right and they’re wrong.  Our stubborn refusal to seek another way leaves no space for healing, adjustment, or additional growth, ours is the ONLY way.   I was reminded of that picture of Jesus standing at the door, knocking, and waiting for the other person to open it.   However, the person in my story made the decision to clench both fists on the doorknob, clutching it so tightly that no one would be able to even slightly turn the handle.  And taken it a step further, he barred the door, refusing to listen, confident his way was right.

Jesus encountered similar situations.  He tried to reason, but once reason was rejected, He left.   He demonstrated love, but when love was refused, He went to those whose spirits were opened.  I came to those who need a physician. [para-phased]   

Even today, He does not work where doors are barred, ears are shut, minds made up, and hearts closed.  He leaves these souls to their own way.  That’s not to say, there are not markers, signposts, guides, souls whose purpose it is to light the way.  But each of us must be willing to open the door, listen intently, and say yes to the opportunity to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of Him.   Individuals carrying the seeds of hard-hearted-ness, (if this is the right word), will not produce the fruit of the spirit; will not produce a space for reconciliation; will not produce hope.

I carry no ill feelings, only feelings of forgiveness for one who has so much to learn.  And as for my “protector-coach” I am deeply grateful to him for coming to my “rescue.”   The lessons learned for me are to be clearer when I communicate, to continue shine a light, walk in appreciation and love regardless of issues and circumstances, and let divine love take care of the rest.