How To Listen To God

“Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) is one of the many Bible passages promising that God will speak to us. Why, then, do so many people fail to hear what He is saying?

One significant obstacle is that we often consider the act of listening to be a passive experience we assume we can simply sit and absorb what is being said. However, good listening is, in fact, an active endeavor, involving both attitude and action.

As believers, we should not come to God with uncertainty, doubting that He is going to speak, or we will have difficulty listening. Instead, our responsibility is to approach God confidently and expectantly, anticipating that He will communicate with us. Such an attitude is an expression of faith, demonstrating that we believe His promises.

The Bible instructs, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV). To hear God, we must come quietly and allow Him to do the talking.  There is nothing wrong with keeping a prayer list, but devotional time ought to be more than just a report of requests; we should take the time to hear what God says.

We must approach the Lord with an attitude of patience. “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1 NIV). While none of us enjoy waiting, God will not tell everything at once. One reason is that, if we are not ready for what He wants to say, He sometimes withholds information until we are prepared to listen. At other times, He may be stretching our faith.

Another important attitude involves action: we must listen actively. Colossians 3:16 NIV says, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” In other words, we are to be rich, abundant, and overflowing with the truth of God’s Word. That happens by meditating upon Scripture.

Remember also to listen humbly and submissively. We must understand how absolutely dependent we are upon the Holy Spirit to reveal truth. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.(John 14:26NIV).

Apart from the work of the Spirit, we are helpless to hear from God whether He speaks through Scripture, circumstances, prayer, or other people, it is the Spirit who enables us to hear.  When that happens, listen attentively, prepared to submit to whatever He tells you.

Praying you’ll be renewed by His spirit.

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