There is more to being a Christ-follower than head knowledge, doing certain things and not others, and muscling our way to be a good Christian.
There is a thriving, abundant, and beautiful relationship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. You can read more here.
We’re talking about one of the crucial elements of cultivating that type of relationship; listening. I addressed some foundational principles here.
Want to hear from God? I mean, do you really want to hear from God? Really, really?
First, you need to ask.
The best news is He wants you to learn to hear from Him. He wants you to come close. He wants you to know Him. And He wants you to ask Him to help.
Helping people who earnestly seek and try to experience more of Jesus
is one of the specialties of the Holy Spirit.
So, pray, beg, plead for God to help you hear Him.
Second, you need to listen. Be quiet. Practice active listening. Shut the trap and open the ears. Listen to understand not to be understood.
Yep, the same principles that apply to being a good listener to people are the some of the very same principles to use when listening to God. Huh. Imagine that.
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:12-16
You say, “How do you do that?”
Okay. Take this scripture passage. Read it. Ask God to teach you what it means through His Spirit. Ask Him to still your mind. Ask Him to open your ears and heart to His truth. Read it again slowly. Then be quiet.
If your mind starts its desperate search for entertainment, like so many of our minds do, stop it and get back to active listening.
American minds are sooooooooo OVERSTIMULATED. How long can you go without looking at your phone? How long can you go in silence before you turn on the TV or pull out your iPad? How much silence do you allow in your conversations before filling it with meaningless dribble? How long do you go between checking Facebook?
My friends, God is much more patient than we are. He is timeless. He is not distracted. He speaks, but not at our pace.
When your mind wanders, read a line of scripture, chew on it, mull over it, highlight words that stick out to you, ask God to reveal His truth, then…
Shhhh…. Again I say, listen…
Oh, yeah. Turn off the TV. and your iPod. Turn your focus solely on Jesus Christ and His truth and leave space for Him to talk to you.
You say, “I can’t do it!”
Most people can’t, at least not the first few hundred times they try.
Shhhh…It’s okay…be still…stick with it…you’ll get it..Shhhh…
There is no perfect formula. The way I hear from the Lord might not be the way you best hear from Him. God did that on purpose – so you would call on Him to help and not some pastor, blog, or book.
The God of the universe wants to help you. He wants you to have a vibrant relationship with Him. He wants you to experience more.
So open his Word, read it asking and expecting the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth, turn off the world and focus on Him, then listen. And when you don’t hear anything, or at least you don’t know if you heard anything, try it again tomorrow and the next and the next and the next.
A year from now, you will be much better at hearing from God. And in ten years, you will be even better still.
Hearing from God is not easy. But it is OH SO worth it.
Now, go practice…shhhhh...