By: Kevin Jackson
If you read or know the Bible at all, you know it is filled with references to God talking to various people throughout time. Sometimes directly, sometimes through a burning bush and sometimes by putting His laws on stone tablets. But do you feel you know when God is talking to you? Are you waiting to hear some voice from the sky that sounds a lot like Morgan Freeman? You might be waiting a while for that. But the truth is, God talks to you all the time, you might not be listening though.
Learning how to listen properly to God is a skill very few master in their life. Even those that seem to have the ear of God (like maybe your local pastor) struggle to know when God is speaking to them, truth be told. We are all searching for that close relationship with God. But it is hard to have a tight relationship unless you talk to each other. And when you feel the talking is a one way street, that can be tough. Think about your marriage or any other close relationship you have. Communication is the key to that relationship working and being the best it can be. Your relationship with God is no different.
So, the first thing you need to do to perfect your communication with God is stop always being the one who talks! When you pray, talk to God about what you thank Him for, what your needs are etc. That is certainly important. After you finish, sit quietly and patiently, listening for God. I know what you are saying: “I can sit there forever; I doubt I will hear God talking to me”. Might be true, but you have to stop waiting for Morgan Freeman.
God talks to you in a variety of ways throughout the day, every day. You honestly are just - not - listening. As it says in Job 33:14, “For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it.”
The first way God talks to you is through His Word. The Bible was written by many men, but everything in there is the Word of God. In the Bible, He tells stories, guides you with His laws and gives you advice for your everyday life. If you aren’t reading the Bible every day, then you aren’t listening to Him every day in this way. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” - Timothy 3:16.
Reading the Bible seems to be the most obvious way to hear what God is saying, but what about other ways? Well, those are more subtle and probably less understood. Let’s start with what you think is you. In today’s society, it is all about us, isn’t it? We love to think the world revolves around us for sure. So, let’s look at us for a second. That voice in your head, call it what you will, sub-conscience, etc., but that might just be God talking to you. Ever sit there and think about the decision you are trying to make. Sometimes, it’s easy, sometimes it’s tough. Maybe, just maybe God is talking to you at that moment. Sometimes you heed “your own” advice and sometimes you don’t. What happens when you don’t, it usually doesn’t work out to well, does it? It is not surprising that the voice in your head sounds exactly like your voice (go back to my earlier comment about how we love us). Do you wish it sounded like Morgan Freeman? Me too. So next time you hear yourself guiding you, maybe listen a little bit closer. God is talking to you and giving you a little life nudge.
Another way God is talking to you is through people in your life. Now, let’s get this straight, God talks through all different type of people in your life. He is guiding your life through them. Sometimes it is literally the words that come out of their mouths and sometimes it is just through actions and interactions. But God uses them all, sometimes positive and sometimes, well, not so positive. That boss that keeps holding you back and not giving you the promotion you think you deserve. Guess what, that might just be God teaching you patience and putting you in a place in your life that you need to be in. That neighbor inviting you to church randomly….guess what, God. He is everywhere and works through every one. Next time you are in a situation and someone says something that hits you in a peculiar way, listen closely, it might just be God talking to you.
Finally, let’s talk about things all around you. You probably listen to things all day long, the radio, TV, strangers in the hallway, etc. Listen closely, there are messages from God in there. My favorite song when I was a teen was U2 ‘s “I Finally Found What I’m Looking For”.
Just look at these lyrics:
You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross of my shame
Oh my shame, you know I believe it.
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for.
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for.
You didn’t know that was a Worship song about looking for salvation did you? Well, imagine that, you weren’t listening.
So, open your minds and open your hearts to God. He is talking to you. It might be disguised as a pastor, a stranger, a friend, a book, a movie, who knows. But He is and He wants you to listen to Him because He listens to you constantly. Once you figure out how to do this, this world changes and your perspective changes. Your life will never be the same. You will spend your time searching for God’s presence and letting His words guide you. God is talking to you, you just need to listen.
"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." - John 10:27-28.