bits from bob....

Hearing God

by Robert J. Young
©, 2003, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

We live in a world that has, for the most part, lost the art of listening. We talk and talk, and then while another is talking, we are thinking about what we are going to say when she finishes. Sports telecasts require explanation. Every public assembly seems to require announcements. Our society seems to value talking more than listening.

The servant of the Lord, Samuel, in the OT, spoke quotable words, "Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth." We must cultivate the ability to listen. We must cultivate the ability to hear God. In Scripture, hearing God brings either tickled ears or tingling ears, depending on whether we intend to heed what we hear.

That I listen to one thing God says does not necessarily mean that I listen to everything he says. I must listen wholeheartedly. There is no half-obedient heart. Stubbornness of heart demonstrates to God our lack of love, for Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commands." If I love my wife, I know what she wants, and she says, "We are friends." Modern couples are fond of a wedding invitation that proclaims, "Today I will marry my best friend." We are friends only when we obey one another.

Are you a friend of Jesus? Are you disobeying any of his commands? Is there something he wants from you that you have thus far been unwilling to give or do? Some of us are willing in our disobedience. Others are not so consciously disobedient. As a general rule, we are not careful listeners. When we realize something as a command from God, we may do it. But in our disrespectful dislistening we do not hear what he says and cannot identify his commands.

Spiritual vitality depends on hearing. If I am one with Christ, I hear when God speaks always, and I know that God hears me always (John 11:41). Hearing is a neglected spiritual discipline. It doesn't even make most of the lists of spiritual disciplines!

We are hardened in our hearing, and hindered in our heeding, because we are hastening in our hurried lives to other things. We are distracted. It is not that we do not want to hear God, but we are not devoted to hearing him. We are devoted to other things. Hearing God is always hard. I must cultivate this discipline of hearing, lest I become spiritually deaf.

Have you heard God today? Have you listened?

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Last updated November 11, 2003.