Continuing from Becoming Obedient (part 1), I wanted to split it up as to not bore or draw it out too long. Even time to think about how you listen!
"And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:8
There is something called active listening, it's taught in some communication circles. But here’s a few ideas of how we can listen to God based on the idea of active listening, or at least ways I try to listen for the Lord. This is by no means a complete list, but perhaps a starting point. I’m just going to touch on three points, because I think it’s applicable to our relationship with God as well as others. The first is to remove distractions. By removing distractions we’ll be able to hear more clearly and pick up on the sometimes quiet voice of our Creator. Sometimes when praying I just sit quietly with a blank mind, not asking or talking about anything.
We can choose who and what we listen to. What we listen to (what goes in) will be shown in our actions (what comes out). Listening to music is a good example for me. Now, I tend to listen to Christian music for the most part. A couple years ago as I was listening to the radio in the car, some of the songs I enjoyed listening to and signing along with were not exactly appropriate for little ones. What they thought was simply calling someone on a cell phone actually had more to do with a late night phone call for sex. They didn’t understand, but I did. And the “information” they were listening to didn’t line up with the values I wanted to teach them and live by. So we changed what we were listening to, removed a distraction.
Being in the Word, reading my bible is also a good way for me to focus and shut out distractions. And, not just reading but attempting to put what is read and understood into action. If I don't understand I can ask God for clarity, talk to others I trust, or seek more information on my own. I get curious. And then be open to allowing those words of truth to change my life. James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.” I don’t want to just hear what Jesus taught, but do what Jesus taught.
The second point is listening to the speakers signs and sounds. When we’re face to face with someone, this is much easier to do and pick up on little nuances. However, as I have come to know the Lord more, I can hear His voice a little easier and know where to look and what to listen for. He speaks in the voice of my husband, friends, parents, in nature, sermons at church, and “coincidences” throughout the day. There are little clues all over the place if I start looking, kind of like crumb trails in the story of Hansel and Gretel.
The third point is giving feedback with what you have understood, for me this is very different when I’m listening to God versus when I’m listening to a person I’m communicating with. Sometimes, I’m so not clear on what I am understanding and need to ask for more information or confirmation on what I think I’ve heard from the Lord. “Father, I think you are calling me to do ___. If that’s correct, I would really love for you to confirm that so I don’t miss step.” Or “Lord, I think are are calling me to ____. I’m going to step out and ____, please close that door or make it clear that we’re going in the right direction.” It’s a little different when your face to face with someone, but I feel this is a way I can give and get some feedback from my Creator.
I don't know about you, but I want to know the voice of my Creator. To know His voice, I must listen and pay attention. There is peace and patience when I'm still enough to listen. If listening is an important part of becoming obedient I want, and will, stop to listen.