All too often my wife and I have this conversation:
<Roberta drops a piece of important information>
Me: “I did not know that.”
Ro: “I told you last week.”
Me: “No, you didn’t”
Ro: “I told you when the fact that she told me>…”
Roberta and I do a great job of communicating with one another. The problem comes in where we remember to listen and then remember what the other said. It can be said that selective hearing is a problem for us. Not only is selective hearing a problem for Roberta and I, but I think selective hearing is a common problem for Christians. Of course I’m not just saying that this is a problem in marriage, but also in our relationships with God.
I have a belief about God. I believe that He is always speaking to us, we either are not listening, or have not learned to recognize God’s voice. There are lots of reason to not hear or listen to God’s voice. We are too busy, caught up in the noise, hurry and crowds to stop and hear what the Maker has to say to us, or we don’t act on what He said. I’ve certainly found myself on both sides of this. Life in ministry is busy. There is always more people who need to hear about Jesus, and more things to do to tell people. It is not a nine to five job that I can leave at the office. I have to live my job 100% of the time. That adds up to a busy life. In all of this busyness, it is easy to work, work, work and forget to do the simple things to reconnect with God. If you are not hearing God because you are too busy, take a few quiet moments listen to God and see what he has to say to you.
On the other side of the coin, sometimes we can hear God easily, but to not act on what he says. For me about 85% of what God says to me is direction. Do something, or share an encouraging word with someone. Sometimes I choose to obey, other times, shamefully I choose not to obey. I think that sometimes, God will keep speaking the same thing until we choose to obey. Take for instance the story of Jonah: God told Jonah to do something. Jonah ignored God and ran away. God brought circumstances that brought Jonah right back to him, and told him the same thing. If you are not hearing God, think about the last thing he told you to do, and consider: did you do what God asked you to do?
Maybe you do not hear God because you simply don’t know His voice. God’s voice is not hard to hear, perhaps you have heard it before, but simply did not realize that it was God speaking to you. There is no solid thing that I could say is always God’s voice. Perhaps you were reading the Bible and a particular verse stood out to you, and though you have read it about a million times it had new meaning. That could be God speaking to you. Or maybe you were in church and the pastor had a message that went right to your heart. That could have been God speaking through him or her to you. Or someone in conversation spoke to you and it penetrated to the very fiber of your being. That could have been God using that other person to speak to you. Or you have a thought that is not normally something you think, or a strong feeling that you should do something… I could go on. The point is that God speaks to different people in different ways. Think about a time that maybe God spoke to you, but you did not realize it was God until later.
People do often get confused about whether God is speaking to them or if it was their own crazy thoughts. I use a fairly ancient measuring rod to decide if it was God or not: The Bible. You see, God would NEVER contradict the word that he gave to us so long ago. So, if what I think he says to me lines up with the Bible, than I’ll act on it, if not than I chalk it up to my craziness. For example, I feel like God says to me: “Encourage this person with a smile and some kind words.” I know that the Bible says: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24), so that would probably spur this person on to love and good deeds, so it must be God.
Take some quiet time today and see what God has to say for you. I would be interested to hear if you don’t mind sharing what he is saying.