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Thursday
Sep132012

Listening to His Voice – or Our Own? 

 

I have had some recent experiences that remind me of the need and the call to listen to God’s still small voice, but I have to admit at times it is difficult to distinguish His voice from my own – or from others around me.  In the mix and the midst of all of this noise and confusion, the enemy tells me that if I were really in tune with God, I would be able to ‘tune out’ all those other noises and hear His voice above any other.  Does it make sense to you that sometimes our own voice ‘sounds’ more spiritual than the voice of God?  Or --- that our Christian friends’ voices sometimes are the ‘spiritual sounding’ ones – with God coming in a distant second?

When can we hear God’s voice and what does it sound like?  What does it take to hear Him?  Our hearing from God is certainly not just at those times when all is quiet ‘on the western front,’ when we have had a long, peace-filled quiet time with Him, when things are going well for us and our loved ones, when we are experiencing fulfillment and success and satisfaction.  Nor is it necessarily at those times when things around us are falling apart… and in desperation we long for and listen to God’s voice.  Sometimes, it’s just in the mundane!  Looking at Psalm 46, we are told to ‘be still and know that He is God,’ and this following a Psalm that looks at tumultuous times around us, in times of trouble when our world is shaken and everything around us seems uncertain.  Because God knows us literally inside and out and loves us perfectly and unconditionally, then He knows our language and exactly what we need, just the right thing to say to us.  Listen to these phrases:  “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” – Psalm 34.   (He does not tell us not to be brokenhearted, nor does He try to rebuke us when we feel crushed in spirit).  “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” – Psalm 32.   Also, from Psalm 32, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”  In Proverbs He gives us yet another opportunity to hear from Him – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  “We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” – Psalm 33.

Listening, learning to really listen is an acquired skill. Often, in fact very often, if we are really honest with ourselves, we find that we do not concentrate on the skill of listening – to others or to God. 

Here are a few questions to test yourself on your listening skills:

  • Ø Do you practice ignoring the distractions around you, putting what you have been doing out of sight and out of mind?
  • Ø Do you encourage others to talk and really be interested in what they have to say?
  • Ø Do you let the other person finish a sentence before jumping in?
  • Ø Do you try to understand the meaning behind the words?
  • Ø Do you listen even though you can anticipate the next word?
  • Ø Do you give your full attention to the one communicating?

So…granted, this little quiz can easily be applied to person-to-person relationships.  I submit to you that it is also important to think of our person-to-God relationship, which deserves far more of our attention than we are usually willing to give.

“My sheep hear my voice, and they know me?”  Are you His sheep?  Do you listen for His voice?

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