God desires all people to be saved, but there’s more to the Christian life than just being redeemed. Scripture says it’s God’s will that we also walk in a manner that’s pleasing to Him. If we want to please the Lord, we have to learn the discipline of listening to God.
One of the most important lessons we can learn is how to listen to God. In our complex and hectic lives, nothing is more urgent, nothing more necessary, and nothing more rewarding than hearing what God has to say to us and obeying Him.
A true conversation, of course, involves both talking and listening. Most of us do better with the talking part.
At one point, I became so occupied doing the Lord’s work that I had very little time for anything else. I preached six times a week, taped two television programs, and was the senior pastor of a large church. We also were developing an international broadcast ministry. I spent a great deal of time talking to God, but one day I realized I was not spending as much time listening to what He was saying to me. I knew something had to change. If we fail to learn how to listen to the Lord, we will make some very unwise and costly mistakes.
You may ask, “Does the Lord really speak to us today?” The Bible assures us that He does. The book of Hebrews opens this way: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1-2). Our God is not silent. Our heavenly Father is alive and active. He speaks to us individually and in a way that we can hear Him, receive His message, and obey Him. He is infinite, fully capable of communicating with each of us, right where we are—in the midst of our circumstances—in a very personal way.
This may be one of the most important concepts you will grasp in learning how to listen to God. When the Lord speaks, He is speaking to you. The Word of God contains His truth; therefore, take it personally. Allow His Holy Spirit to open your heart so you will have a deeper understanding of Scripture. When you do, you can begin to claim His promises for your life. You also will gain a deeper understanding of His provision, care, and love.
God is serious about His relationship with you. He speaks for your benefit, and it is important for you to listen to Him and respond in obedience. Sometimes He will challenge you to change your thinking or to release certain unhealthy feelings and opinions. Sometimes He will command you to change aspects of your behavior. Yet with every instruction He gives, you can be certain it is for your good. He desires to encourage and mature you so that you might live with greater joy and strength. He also wants to transform you into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ—helping you to become the very best you can be.
Learning to listen to God through the reading of His Word is the most important thing you can do because there is no other way to enjoy the amazingly wonderful abundant life He offers. Therefore, pay close attention to what He has to say, and He will certainly “tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jer. 33:3).
Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.
This post is a part of the series Life Principles to Live By.