“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” ~ Robert McCloskey
Have you ever heard the saying: “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason”? I actually heard that a lot growing up…not sure why. Learning to listen is a necessary discipline for success. If we truly practice listening twice as much as we speak, we would actually be able to say more with fewer words. When we listen intentionally, we are better informed and able to give a much more measured response. Now let’s switch gears from thinking about how we listen to our friends and colleagues to assessing how well we listen to God.
For most of us, we’re pretty good about talking to God. We pray for others, pray for ourselves, ask God to fix the messes we’ve created, but how often do we just listen; truly listen? We may be functioning a lot like a radio that’s not quite tuned into the right frequency. The world is full of static noise and distractions. It’s really difficult to be quiet, be still and listen past the noise in our lives.
The Bible tells us that Jesus would often get away to “a quiet place.” When is the last time you were able to find a quiet place where you could be still and listen for God’s voice in your life? The Apostle Paul was very good at staying tuned into God for divine direction. Here’s just one example from Paul’s second missionary journey:
Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia … but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there… So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. (Acts 16:6-9 NLT)
Did you catch it? In this one passage, Paul listened for God’s direction in his life through each person of the Trinity. Talk about tuned in! Paul learned to listen because so much was on the line. God had called him to do great things and Paul took that very seriously.
The truth is; God has created you to do great things for His kingdom as well. All too often we are caught in the busyness of life and all its noise, and it can drown out the voice of God. When this happens, we end up working on our agenda and not His.
Take time today to be still and quiet yourself from all the noise in your life in order to hear from God. He will speak into your life through the Holy Spirit. Listen intently and trust Him with your next steps today and He will be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.