A Christian conviction is that God speaks to His people. Countless times the Bible says, "And God said. . . " He has spoken to us in His written Word, through His Living Word (Jesus), and continues to speak to us through His Holy Spirit. While I am careful about someone saying, "God told me. . . ," I do know that He emphasises portions of Scripture and makes them stand out for us; He brings things into our minds that we know are from Him; He leads; guides etc.
Jesus instructed us about hearing the words of God through a story in Luke 8:4-15. One of the cool things about this story is that Jesus also gives the interpretation of the parable.
Here Jesus describes four mindsets that respond to God's words. They answer the question, "How do I hear God speak to me?"
1. Cultivate an Open Mind - If we want to hear God, we must be open, eager and willing to listen to Him, not doubting that God speaks. Luke 8:5 & 12 describe the first kind of attitude or mindset toward hearing the voice of God. It is like a foot path in a field - hard, narrow, and packed down. It is a mind that is closed by things like:
A. Pride - "I don't need God." "I can make this business decision on my own." "I can resolve this conflict alone - no need to pray and ask God."
B. Fear - "Me, listen to God? He may tell me to do something hard and unpopular." "I don't want to become a looney religious nut." "He might make me do something that would cause me to lose my fun or my freedom."
C. Bitterness - "Why did God allow this hurt to come into my life? Do you think I would listen to Him after what He has done to me?" The truth is that God does not stop people from doing evil but does allow people to act in freedom to indulge their sin. He, however, does feel our pain and works to bring healing to us.
D. Disbelief - "I don't believe that anyone can hear God speak to them today."
James 1:21 instructs us to "humbly accept the word planted in us."
If you have not been hearing the voice of God, could it be that your attitude is like a hardened path - unreceipive to His loving call? Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice." Are you one of His sheep? Are your mind and heart prepared to listen?
Time to search our hearts with this post and watch for Soil #2 in the next post ~
Listening ~ Bob