In the last post I wrote about our need to hear from God. In this post I want to address the issue of what keeps us from hearing God’s voice.
The Scripture teaches us that the normal practice of every believer is to be able to hear from God. When Scripture tells us to be “led by the Spirit” in Ephesians 5 it’s our mandate to watch and wait on God’s leading in all things.
Therefore, it is abundantly clear that the normal Christian life is one that is taught, led and directed by the Holy Spirit. We exist to commune with God and get our direction for life from a heavenly source.
Every believer should be hearing from God, but it is evident by the decisions we make, that our communication with God is somewhat lacking. There are several reasons that many believers are not hearing from God on a regular basis. Here are three of the more obvious reasons.
The busyness of life dominates our attention
When we let our busy life control our lack of fellowship with God, it is an indication that we have lost our sense of urgency to hear from God. It happens to all of us, we get busy making a living, running the kids all over town, even doing the work of the ministry. But if our life is to be truly God-centered then we must be intentional about setting aside a time to hear from God. Jesus thought it was so important that he said in Matthew 6:6, “When you pray, go into a private room, close the door, and pray unseen to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees in secret will reward you.”
Our lifestyle screams “hurry up”
Part of the mentality of our culture is we are always in a hurry. We get upset when we have to wait 5 minutes in the checkout lane, or have to wait 15 seconds for a web page to load. Our whole lifestyle is about speed and convenience.
Unfortunately, many of us approach our quiet time the same way. We rush through the Scripture reading and our devotional material, and then we say our usual 2 minute prayer, and then get on with our daily schedule. We have given little thought to our overall purpose and need to hear from God.
I recently heard a testimony from a woman in Iran who was seeking God. She became so frustrated in her search to find God that she prayed, “God I am going to give you 7 days to reveal yourself to me and then I am going to give up trying to find you. “ We often do the same thing, “OK God, I am giving you 15 minutes this morning, then I’m out the door.”
The Scripture says in many places to value waiting on God, “Yet those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles…” (Isaiah 40:31) The Lord is telling us in this passage that when we learn to wait on Him, then our perspective will be like an eagle. An eagle flies higher than any bird and has a grand panoramic perspective.
We haven’t developed our spiritual listening ears
Developing listening skills is one of the most important skills a follower of Jesus can obtain. When we spend quality time waiting and listening before God, then we develop spiritual listening ears. These are ears that eventually learn to hear God in every event of life.
A good listener knows what is happening beyond the words spoken. A husband who has become a good listener knows that a statement by his wife many times has a deeper meaning than just the words she says. In a similar manner, when an event occurs that is hard to understand, because we have developed our spiritual ears, we know God may have a greater purpose in mind.
You can rest assured that God wants to speak to you. He wants to share His love by increasing your intimacy with Him. But you must take the first step to slow down and listen, because God is seldom in a hurry. As you develop your spiritual listening ears then He will do the rest by speaking to you. He may speak in a passage of Scripture, a devotional, or even through a sermon. He could speak in the middle of difficult circumstances, or He may speak in a still small voice. But however He speaks it’s important that you are ready, willing and prepared to listen.
“Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage, yes, wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)