June 4, 2013

Listening to God and not just Hearing Him

Have you ever been in faced with a situation where you needed to make a decision, knowing that what ever decision you took would have a ripple effect on everything else around? Have you ever been at a crossroad where everyone expected you to lead? Have you ever felt like you needed God's guidance and direction in a particular issue, called and prayed to him and yet feel that he never answered? Or better yet, have followed a certain path fully believing that God led you down that path only to be in terrible doubts down the road?Or have you sought God in issues and done things differently only to question if you did listen to God?

That dawned on me a few days ago and the sad part about it is that, several times i have found myself regretting the choices i made be it with my education, my personal life, work and everything else in between.It is only after the event that i start questioning if indeed i heard God and if indeed i did listen to Him. Several times we seek God's face and guidance about issues in our lives and when he does speak to us, we take a different route instead and only regret it when things don't go as planned.

Sometimes we get so frustrated with the unexpected outcomes of our actions that we take out the frustration on God and we do not stop for one minute to think that he didn't ask us to go down that path in the first place.

God usually speaks to us in that little inner most voice in our hearts that we so often tend to ignore and follow the loud voice, not realizing that the loud voice is our own voice talking back at us.Sometimes when the voice is silent, it is asking us to be patient and wait because there might be a hurdle ahead or there is better option ahead. But always God is talking to us even in the silence, the question is how many of us are patient to wait for his voice and gentle in listening to his voice?

Mark 4:24 reads 'And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.'.  It says to pay attention to what you hear, paying attention means to listen to God fervently. It is what we hear when we listen to that voice that should be the determining factor in our actions. This verse also promises that we would be blessed even more if we listen to God and obey his voice.

Proverbs 2:1-5 reads 'My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.' Again, the word attentive has been mentioned in this verse which translates into listening with a keen ear, or better still, listening with the heart. This passage tells of the richness in God's voice, it is filled with wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

All the decisions we would ever need to make in our lives would require some knowledge, wisdom and understanding of some sort and Proverbs 2:1-5 assures us that if we receive God's words and treasure his commandments, then abundant wisdom,knowledge and understanding shall be ours but that if only we listen to his voice.

As children of God, the Holy Spirit is always with us as long as we do not depart from God. And as long as we have the Holy Spirit with us, we can talk to God and hear his voice and listen to him. John 8:47 is very clear on that as it reads 'Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”. We are all children of God and not being of God here means that we do not have that Holy Spirit in us. That would be why God talks to us and we hear something different.That Holy Spirit comes to us when we are saved and we have to keep praying to God to never depart his Holy Spirit from us because then, we would not able to hear him.

Jesus is the Shepard and we are the sheep and the sheep have to listen to the Shepard. John 10:27-28 reads 'My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.' As the Shepard,Jesus is constantly talking to us, giving us directions and guiding us in life. But are we the sheep actually listening to his voice of direction and guidance? When we listen to his voice, we are safe and we are in his hands and therefore we will be able to make wise decisions.

As children of God, we are not supposed to have any doubts in our minds when making a decision concerning any aspect of our lives because we have to seek the divine counsel of God always. It does not suffice to seek his counsel but we have to pay attention to his voice when we call on him. God is always talking to us, even in the silence he is always saying something to us. He speaks to us in our hearts, in the littlest most gentle voice which requires our undivided attention to capture what he is saying.

This is all summed up in Philippians 4:6 which says 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ' For if we do take everything to God in prayer with thanksgiving, we have no reason to be anxious because as he promised in his word, he always listens to his children and will never forsake us. If he is gentle, kind and patient to listen to our many supplications and prayers, and merciful to grant us solutions and answers to those prayers why then, can't we be patient in waiting to hear his voice, or why can't we attentive enough to listen to what he is saying. Take time to pray to God and when you do, take time again to listen to him because he is always near, talking to us, even in the silence.