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Listening to God

Listening to God

You and I have been given the invaluable gift of communication with God. It is important for us to learn and grow in our understanding of our communion with God, so that it may flourish as we engage in continual conversation with our loving, present heavenly Father.  

Scripture: “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3

Many Christians have difficulty believing, or understanding how, God speaks to them today. Many tend to think that God only spoke a few times in history and only to people like Moses, David or Paul, but never to a person like me.  

Yet, the Creator of the universe is eager to break through the walls of our misconceptions and speak to our hearts. When we experience this, we begin to be more intentional to take time to listen. And in making space for God to speak, our lives and church communities can be transformed. This doesn’t happen in one shot, but by consistent, internal conversation with God.  

Scripture makes it clear that God loves to talk with his children. John 8:47 says, “Whoever is of God hears the words of God.” Jeremiah 33:3 says,“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Isaiah 55:3 says, “Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live.” Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” The list of such scriptures is long. In story after story God’s people hear His voice and know his will. The Bible clearly teaches that God speaks to all of us as his children in a way we can understand in as many ways as possible.  

Of course, God speaks to us through his Word. The Bible is one of our greatest gifts as Christians. It is the very word of God, “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).  

God also speaks directly to us through his Holy Spirit. John 16:13 says,“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” And Scripture reveals how God speaks through his creation. Romans 1:20 says that God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”

God loves to speak. He isn’t silent. He isn’t distant. He longs for us to live with the knowledge of his love and perfect will. The question isn’t whether God speaks. The question is, will you and I listen? Will we choose to submit ourselves to him—to receive and obey his guidance.  

Many times God has spoken to me, prompting and guiding me in his will. I’m sure you’ve had the similar experiences to mine, where God’s will hasn’t always initially been what we hoped for or thought was best. Sometimes his leadings have been to do something incredibly difficult that didn’t make complete sense at the time. But as we follow his leading, we discover that he his will is perfect, well-timed and trustworthy. And there are many times when we rejoice in his leadings, as his voice brings clarity.  

It is incredibly humbling and an immense blessing to listen to God in our lives and the church. We can do this better by simply quieting our souls and receiving the gift of engaging with our heavenly Father. This the primary reason that God has placed his Spirit within you and me—even nearer and more intimate than we can fully comprehend. We are united to God, so we can ask his Spirit to reveal to us his will and leading for us and his church. We can ask him to make us aware of every means he desires to speak through. Then listen with an open and pliant spirit, receptive to all the wonderful things he longs to share.  

This is important for us as we look toward our conference delegates gathering for another conference constituency meeting September 18, 2022. We want to be open and sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice and leading, that the way in which we relate with one another and the decisions made are all about Jesus and his will, and manifesting the fruits of the Holy Spirit, as we conduct his business.  

Guided Prayer:

1. Focus. Take time to quiet your soul. Confess anything that you sense may hinder a loving relationship with God and others. Surrender to him anything that’s troubling your mind. Receive his peace and wait patiently for him to speak.

“Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live.” Isaiah 55:3

2. Listen. Ask the Spirit to reveal God’s heart for you. Ask him for his will and direction. Pay attention to any thoughts, inclinations or changes in your emotions, to insure they are consistent with the fruits the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Allow God to speak in any way he wants. “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3

3. Praise. Worship him as the majestic and intimate God. Let the truth of his presence with you transform your perspective. Listen to God throughout your day in consistent conversation. Tune into listening to him in all circumstances. Ask for his help and understanding in anything that troubles you. May the Holy Spirit lead you into a deeper and more satisfying relationship with God as you engage with him in constant conversation.

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