Sunday, October 5, 2014
Listen with Ears Wide Open
"But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]." John 16:13 (Amp.)
Eighteen years ago, Peter Lord came to our church and I was part of a class he taught to hear God. I'd just been through a time in my life where I was searching for truth. I wasn't quick to accept new teachings without examining them, so I started the process of studying to see if it was true that I could hear God. (Believe me, even though this is the Amplified version, I read each version of this verse--and the Greek--to verify it really did say this--along with all of the verses on hearing God!!) I'd come out of a system which taught hearing God was no longer valid--after the written word of God was completed. I encourage you to search it out for yourself all while you're asking God for truth. I'm just telling you this was the scripture which finally convinced me that not only could I hear God...I should be hearing God!
This morning, we taught "Hearing God" to our Sunday School class of young adults. It's always exciting to see what takes place. At one point, I asked the class to stop and listen. What did they hear around them in the physical world? Immediately, everyone said, "The clock!" And someone said, "Birds." I asked if they'd noticed those sounds before we started the exercise. They hadn't. And why hadn't they? Because they weren't tuned in. Bingo! When do we do our best listening? When we're paying attention to the speaker. I get frustrated if I try to tell something important to Andy and he's distracted. I finally give up. But when we're both giving one another our complete focus, we have a fruitful conversation. It's the same with God. He wants our undivided attention. He wants us tuned in to hear what He has to say to us. And it will never contradict the scripture--which is why we must be students of the word of God. It takes practice to hear God. And not only practice, but it comes from building a relationship. And that takes intentionality.
Now I'll be the first to tell you that God gives us lots of freedom in decision-making. But I'm afraid most of us can go for months, or even years, without asking God for His opinion. What if each of us had a running dialogue going on with God every day? Not only would our lives be so much more blessed, but I think it would bless God's heart as well. I know that's the way I feel when my adult children include me in their day, their thoughts, their plans. It's a privilege for me to be included. How much more for God! And He wants to be the director of our steps.
It may seem crazy to think He's concerned about each step you take. But what if He told you to give a word of encouragement to someone and you later found out it brought them out of a deep depression? What if He wants to give you a way to reach your child? What if you have a technical problem at work and He wants to give you the solution? What if he wants to tell you where to move? All of those things have actually happened to me. Or what if He was protecting you, like he did the wise men, and told you to go home another way? God has spoken to His children many times to protect them.
God may have messages He wants to give us that concern the future. We need to be listening...with ears wide open.