“Our failure to hear His voice when we want to is due to the fact that we do not in general want to hear it, that we want it only when we think we need it.”
We live in a world full of noise. Everywhere we go, there is noise and distraction. Not only is there noise and distraction, there is an overabundance of things out there that exist for the sole purpose of dulling our senses, decreasing our capacity for thinking clearly, and keeping us away from the Voice of God in this world.
In America, we live in an entertainment culture. There are many good things about an entertainment culture. The significant flow of creativity that comes from our society inflences the entire world. Our award shows are a testament to the ability and skill of our most talented human accomplishments. Watching the Grammy’s, the ESPY’s, the Golden Globes, and the Oscar’s gives us a tremendous sense that we are partaking in something of a magnificent scale. We are watching the world on display.
But in the midst of our entertainment culture lies a deceptive allure. We begin to think that our personal pleasure is more important than our spiritual calling. Our addiction to alcohol, to various types of drugs, to sexual excitation, and to the quest for money and power dulls our senses, and keeps us from being able to hear the truth about God and His way of life for us.
And don’t be fooled, God does have a voice in all of this. He does have ways of communicating to us. But for all our foolishness, God’s grace and mercy continue to break through into our lives. And the need for us to learn how to listen to Him becomes one of our greatest needs in this life. We need to hear from God. But how?
Today I want to give you four pathways to learning how to listen to God. I hope that these become, for you, helpful ways to connect to your creator and listen to His voice.
- Be Sober-Minded. A clear head is an absolutely critical environment for you to be able to even hear from God. If you are constantly cloudy in your mind due to being overwhelmed with your circumstances, or because you are under the influence of strong drink or drugs, then you are not going to have a clear head. In order to listen well, you have to have a mind that can receive information and clearly respond to it. Get rid of anything that is keeping your mind from being clear.
- Shut Down Your Technology. We are addicted to our technology. The constant need to be informed is killing our hearts and our ability to hear things from God. Take some time off from your technology. Shut down your video games. Turn off your phone. Take off your “Apple” watch. Turn off the television. Stop listening to the radio. Get it quiet in your world. The silence will be defeaning and you won’t know what to do at first…but after the noise fades, you will be left in a place of quiet without the distractions of technology. You were made for more than just functionality in this world. You were made for relationship with God. This is how you were designed. But relationships do not flourish in an environment where there is no ability to converse.
- Open Your Bible. After you’ve shut things down, its time to open something up. Don’t just rid yourself of noise. Fill your mind with truth. Open up the Bible. Begin in the Psalms and Proverbs. Make your praise known to God. Love Him. Pray the Psalms to Him. Don’t just read to be informed, read to be formed and transformed. Let the water of the Word of God wash over your soiled and distracted soul. You need it. You need Him. He will speak through His Word if only you’ll listen to what it says. Don’t merely read…actually listen and do.
- Listen for His Heart. The way you know if something is of God or not is if it is in alignment with His activity and truth shared in the Bible. Specifically, Jesus, being God, lived his life among humanity in such a way as to communicate what God values in this life. Read through the Gospel stories if you truly want to know how Jesus thinks and how Jesus lives among the people of this world. A heart of love, of compassion, of sincere devotion and care for the hurting and needy of this world are true reflections of His heart. Having a sacrificial spirit and a disciplined life both reflect the heart of God. Doing the next right thing is how we learn from Him how to live in the day to day. Stop trying to figure out the future and start moving towards relationship with Him now.
Whatever you do, do not quit straining and striving to hear from Him. Life is not meant to be lived in the darkness. You can come to the light and find your strength, purpose, and mission in listening to God.
If what you read here today has encouraged you, please comment in the section below. I want to hear from you. How is it difficult for you to listen to God? What has worked for you? In what ways do you struggle to hear from Him? Have you expected an audible voice? Or do you recognize that God speaks in multiple ways to our hearts?
How do you listen to God?