I've been working through some encouragements for walking in faith that I received in the mail from Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries. The fourth encouragement is this:
“You don’t just talk to God, but you also listen to Him. You must pay attention to what He is communicating to you. Think about it. You cannot possibly know how to obey the Father if you never take time to hear what He’s saying. You cannot increase your love or your trust in Him if you are not listening to Him either.” Charles Stanley.
I remember the late Reggie White of the Green Bay Packers occasionally being mocked in the press when he talked about hearing God. But 1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
As born again Christians, we know that to hear from God is not foolish at all. Some of us may feel sheepish on this point—or on the point of talking to God in the first place--but there’s no reason for sheepishness. Jesus makes it very clear we are to not only come to him and seek Him with all of our being, but to expect a response as well.
Luke 11:1 says, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
The Holy Spirit is described in John 14:26 as a counselor: “But the Counselor, 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.”
What we learn from these verses is a collaborative relationship (credit goes to Pastor Jon MacDonald for this term). In collaboration we talk, learn from guidance and feedback, and act on wise counsel. It is not a one way street where we pour out our hearts and then go and live our lives without taking any consideration for Jesus’ admonitions and calls for action, service and obedience to living a Godly life.
Jesus said, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you” (John 16:12-15).
When I read that, I want to listen, very carefully, to every Word God speaks.
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, ‘Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.’” Psalm 40:6-8
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!” Psalm 139:17