God speaks to us in a variety of ways – He speaks to us through His word, other people, the Holy Spirit, and circumstances. The key question is, “Am I listening?” Consider for a moment that there is a sovereign God and that He wants to communicate with you. If you believe that is true then the most important task you have is to hear from Him.
When the prophet Samuel was a boy, God sought to speak to him. Eli the priest told Samuel to be ready and receptive to listen to God,
Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10)
Communication with others is important but it is absolutely essential that we understand what God is saying to us. Samuel referred to himself as a servant, this word has the connotation of being in submission to another. The word “listening” means to listen carefully with the intention of obedience. The hymn Hushed Was the Evening captures the intention of this verse,
O give me Samuel’s ear, the open ear, O Lord,
Alive and quick to hear each whisper of Thy Word,
Like him to answer at Thy call, and to obey Thee first of all. Amen.
How can I sharpen my listening skills so I am can ensure that I’m hearing from Him? Here are three practices that will help you to hear from God:
Come with dependence upon Him – Many times we think we know what is best, however that may be an indication of our pride. Can I trust God and others with myself? Can I let go of my plans to gain His perspective?
Get rid of distractions – We can become so distracted with the demands of life that we cannot hear God speaking to us, there is too much noise! The noise may be external from the busyness of life or the noise may be internal from our own anxiety and lack of peace. We may think we’re too busy to pray but the reality is we are too busy not to pray.
Create space in your life to hear from God – Our lives can become so busy that the important matters of life can be pushed aside by the demands of the urgent. No doubt many of the activities you’re involved in are good and beneficial but good can be the enemy of best. If you are not proactive the good things in life can crowd out the best that God has for you.
Jesus modeled these three practices in His life. After an extremely busy day and night of ministry we read,
In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. (Mark 1:35)
The word “secluded” conveys the idea of solitary, lonely, desolate, and uninhabited. When is the last time you had an extended time of solitude and silence before God – not with an agenda, but just listening to Him? In our frenetic, fast-paced society the need for solitude and silence has never been greater.
Take some time this week to listen to God to speak into your life. What is He saying to you?
Associate Pastor – Discipleship. The Church at LifePark
Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University
Follow me on twitter: rickhiggins5