Adam and Eve, besides Jesus, could hear God more clearly than the rest of us. After all, they took walks with Him in the garden He made especially for them. But like most of us, they were only passive listeners. Have you ever wondered we can read our obligatory section of the Bible (from our Read through the Bible in a Year iPhone app) and promptly forget what we have read? It is because, like Adam and Eve, we hear the words spoken but we do not store them in our hearts.
The truth is God is speaking to us all the time, through His Word, through others, through the Holy Spirit, and through our circumstances. And none of us lack the ability to hear Him. Even the heavens proclaim His glory every day though dawns, sunset, abundant rain, softly falling snow, and best of all, clear blue skies. But we often lament that we wish God would tell us what to do or give us a sign of some sort. Could it be that we don’t hear Him because we don’t like what He is saying?
What He Wants You to Know
God’s first goal in communicating is He wants you to hear the truth. And unlike the weighty truth bomb we are expecting, Truth is a person, not a concept. Jesus Himself is Truth. Hear what He says and you will be hearing Truth. The difference between hearing a concept and integrating truth is that one is a purely intellectual exercise and the other is experiential knowledge. When Jesus speaks truth to our hearts, our hearts are changed.
But we often exchange the study of God for the knowing of God. Our pursuit of truth, if merely to attain a collection of facts or even a compendium of Bible verses, will lead to pride and no spiritual authority. Our testimony is our experience with God and our interactions with His Word, not a list of appropriate Bible verses. Actively seek His presence. Don’t be like Adam and Eve who fled His presence.
His second goal in communicating is that He wants you to know yourself. He who made you understands your inner working far better than even you, who experience yourself every day. He wants you to know His plans for you. He wants you to know how to be free of that one thing that has dogged you your whole life. In every single inner healing session I have led, God reveals to each person aspects of themselves they were unaware of. From memories they had dismissed to latent gifts buried under decades of abuse, God alone is able to surface the real you.
His final goal in communicating to you is to reveal the truth about others. Our neighbors, whether Christian or not, are holy. I don’t mean they are good people. I mean that they are each made in the image of God. They bear His imprint, thus they are holy and must be treated with care. As the incarnations of Christ, we bear the responsibility of representing Him to a hurting world.
Because God is so invested in the process, listen to Him about the key to the hearts of your neighbors. He alone knows what will minister to others. Our job is merely obedience.
Charles Stanley once questioned why it was good people could sit in Bible studies and church services for decades and yet decline the invitation to teach. The excuse is always the same. I don’t know the Bible well enough. We must transition to being active listeners rather than passive ones.
I suppose one of the evils of television is that it encourages passivity. Our brain waves while we watch TV are similar to what they look like when we sleep. Reading, on the other hand, shows far more active patterns. But I think a number of obstacles stand in our way in actively pursuing God’s voice. So here is how to hear what He is saying you.
- Let Go of Sin Consciousness
Adam and Eve fled from God because they knew they had sinned. And still today, we thrust our sins between God and ourselves. But that is our own soulish guilt and perhaps the accuser of the brethren at work. Our sin should no longer be uppermost in our minds.
For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. (Hebrew 10:2)
Our primary relationship to God is not condemnation, but of love. However, we remain obsessed with our own faults and think God is too.
- Stop fearing what He will say.
This is so tragic. I can’t tell you how many young men and women have confessed to me that they are certain that God’s will for their lives is something they really don’t want. As if God is going to force them to be missionaries in some far off land or make them give up their favorite sin. God doesn’t make you do anything. And He won’t force you to give up your pet sins either. He will, of course, free you from bondage and heal the wounds you are attempting to fix through your sin.
God’s will for your life is that you fulfill your destiny in Him, using the gifts and talents He gave you. His will for your life is wholeness, joy, and relationships that fill your deepest needs. If you think that God wants you miserable and alone, you are deceived. I thought God wanted me to stay married to an abuser. When I started listening to Him, I realized He wanted me to be free of torment. Listen to Him. He may surprise you.
- Take responsibility for your spiritual walk.
So many people are armchair theologians. We critique sermons and preachers. We criticize worship leaders for missed notes or not entertaining us. We talk about the church as if she is not the Bride of Christ. But a good preacher can’t make you a better Christian. All they can do is feed you some tidbits that you can choose to partake of or not. Their job is to feed His sheep. You, as a sheep, are responsible for eating.
We know that our loved ones deserve to be heard so we listen to them and engage. Does God not deserve that as well?
Charles Stanley used the analogy of receiving a letter from God. If you got one in the mail addressed from Jehovah, Himself, would you put it aside to read later? Probably not. You would be very curious to see what God wanted to say to you.
Do you not see that the Bible is His love letter to you? You have multiple copies in your house, on your phone, and on your laptop. Open it up and hear what He is saying to you right now.
Here are some classics on the topic. You can never go wrong with any of these!
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