As I was sitting studying for class, I began to think about this reality process. We know so much about God’s language through studying his word, sitting through many sermons, Sunday school classes, retreats, and so on and so on. We have learned to recognize God’s word on paper, and given out in sermons. But, what about listening to God as we go about real life? Have we tuned our ears to hear God speak to us?
I came to Honduras because God spoke to my heart about his desire for me to be here ministering. But, I did not hear God speak to me about it before October 2012. I am not sure I was taking time to actively listen. In October, I had stepped away from my normal life to serve in Honduras short term. I had left my distractions behind. I am certain God had been preparing me for this ministry for sometime, but I was too focused on my native language (my wants, my fears, my goals and aspirations), to be aware of God speaking his words into my life.
The real trick to understanding language is to learn to focus on new sounds and filter them out of the noises that surround us. Do sometimes we let God’s voice become background noise and allow our native language to take our focus? In the sheep pen there is lots of bleating and other noises, are we focusing on the right voice and ready to follow?
We learn to listen by listening. I live in a country that speaks Spanish. I hear it everywhere I go. But I only listen when I take time to focus on the words filling the air around me, I have 38 years of practice at filtering out all but English. I am learning Spanish, but I will only understand when I train my ears to respond to the spoken word.
The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
The Bible helps us practice listening to God ‘s language without some of the noise in life to distract us. This is why we study his word to learn and to recognize the sounds of God! In this passage Jesus says his works are speaking to the people testifying to who he is. But the Jewish people could not filter it out of their native language (their hopes, dreams goals and personal aspirations for the messiah). They knew the vocabulary but did not know how to listen.
It is my goal to take more time to learn to listen to God’s voice. To practice separating his voice from the noises that fill the air and my mind. Please take time to listen and learn to respond with me to God's voice, and then take one step at a time walking in obedience.
One of my kids favorite books is With You all the Way by Max Lucado. It is a great kids story about listening for God's voice.