Looking but not listening

Ben Reed —  March 24, 2011 — 3 Comments

My wife said something to me the other day.  I was in the other room, so I didn’t hear her.

Valid excuse, no?

My wife said something to me the other day.  I was right beside her, doing something else, so I didn’t hear her.

Valid excuse, no?

My wife said something to me the other day.  I was looking her right in the eyes, and I didn’t hear her.

Valide excuse, no?

No?

Have you ever done that?  You’re looking right at someone, and they’re talking and you hear what they’re saying, but at the same time you’re hearing none of what they’re saying?

I feel dumb saying, “I know you thought we were engaged in a good conversation right then, and I was even nodding my head, but I have no idea what you said.”

Ever done that with God?

We’re surrounded by God speaking.

In our Bibles.  In podcasts.  Sermons.  Songs.  Through our friends.  Our small group.  Books.  Movies.  Creation.

He is speaking through success.  Through failure.  Through closed doors and open ones.

And yet we don’t listen.  We have no idea what God is saying, or calling us to do.

 

So how do we actually start listening to what He’s telling us?

 

How to hear God’s voice

  • Read your Bible. God has spoken most clearly there, and He has guided people for centuries with the Truth found in the Scriptures.  Through reading more and more of the Bible, you begin to understand what moves the heart of God, where and how He’s working, and how your life can more closely reflect that of Christ.  I call that a win.
  • Listen to solid Bible teaching. Hopefully your church offers it.  If not, feel free to supplement with a Podcast from another church.  There are hundreds of great ones out there.  I listen to this one Matt Chandler HERE and Andy Stanley HERE. (though, thankfully, my church, Grace Community Church, offers amazing teaching).  Hearing the Bible taught and applied is a great way to understand what God may be calling you to do.
  • Serve. Serving others is a great way to get you outside of yourself, and remind yourself that you’re not the center of the universe.  It’s also a great way to find out what things you’re gifted at and where your passions lie.
  • Pray. Ask God to reveal to you what He wants you to be and do.  If you want to hear from God, ask Him to speak.
  • Listen to your friends. Asking those who know you well (especially those in your small group) and you to grow in your faith, to help you know what God may be calling you to do, can be incredibly insightful.  If your friends can be honest with you, they have probably seen God working in your life, and can help you know what things you may be gifted at (or not) that may be worth pursuing.
  • Spend some time enjoying beauty. Whether it’s in the form of nature, art, music, or movies, you can hear God speaking there, too.  I’m not promising an audible, booming voice, but God can move you, and speak to you, in significant ways when you acknowledge His role in creating those things.
  • Be still.  For me, this is probably the toughest one.  I struggle to be still and silent and patient.  (Psalm 46:10)

If you want to know what God’s calling you to do, both right now and in the future, try these things.  And when you get finished with these things, try them again.  And again.  And again.

 

Have you heard God speaking to you lately?

 

What’s He calling you to do?

 

 

 

 

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Ben Reed

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Christ follower, husband, father, writer, pastor of small groups at Long Hollow Baptist Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.
  • http://www.geekforhim.com Matthew

    I think being still and actually listening is the key. When I am still and try to listen, the world around me rushes in becoming a big barrier. It is something we need to try very hard at.

    Thanks Ben!

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    Great points! God is always there for us, but the question is- Are we willing to listen?

  • http://livingstone74.blogspot.com Luther:Living Grace

    Great Word!

    We often get so busy and self-absorbed we fail to listen to God blaring at us nevermind the still small voice.