Confession time! Back in the early 90s I used to be a big fan of the TV series, The X-Files. Every week, special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully investigated a wide range of ‘extraordinary’ cases ranging from Loch Ness monsters to Aliens. Dana was a lapsed Catholic, but in one particular episode her faith was ‘pricked’ during an investigation in to the appearance of huge angels in a particular town. Every episode always ended with a poignant moment of reflection by both agents, and so in the final moments Mulder turned to Scully and asked
“What are you afraid of? That God isn’t speaking?”
Scully paused and then replied,
“No; I’m afraid that God is speaking but no one is listening.”
Do you really believe that God wants to speak to you today? And if you do, are you tuned in? Are you listening? If you read Job 33:14 or Jeremiah 7:13 – to name a couple of examples – you’ll read of God’s longing for people to listen to Him – and yet they’re not tuned in.
Last year, as part of the “Don’t Make History, Change The Future” teaching series, I introduced seven questions that we should regularly be asking ourselves, and those we’re connected with, for accountable disciple-making.
The first question was this – What has God been speaking to you about, and what are you doing about it? Rather than simply asking what have you read in the Bible or what are you praying about, this question encourages us to really press in to what God is saying and how we’re responding. After all, we don’t pray or read scripture just for the sake of it. We do these things to hear from God, and then act on what He is saying to us (James 1:22-25).
If we’re committed to listen we’ll discover that God is able to speak to us in many different ways. Through the Bible (Hebrews 4:12), through dreams (Acts 2:17), through prayer (Jeremiah 33:1-3), through creation (Psalm 19:1-4), through other people (1 Thess 2:13), through pain and suffering (Isaiah 48:10), through success and celebration (Luke 10:17-20). The list goes on.
The story of Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:1-11 reminds us of a few important principles as we seek to grow in listening and responding to God.
Listening to God takes practice. The more we take time to listen, the more attuned to His voice we’ll become. I’ve never heard an audible voice of God but I’m learning to discern when the thoughts in my head are from God or elsewhere.
God will never say anything that doesn’t line up with His Word and His character. For example, God is never going to tell you to lie.
God’s word to you will be consistent with who He made you to be. For example, if you think that God is calling you to be a worship leader, but you can’t hold a note, then it’s probably not God speaking.
In John 10, Jesus makes it clear that He wants us to get to know His voice so that we will follow Him on the right path in life. Let’s all seek to grow in this area in the coming year. Start today! And whenever you connect with Christian friends in the coming month, why not study the verses I’ve given, and ask each other this question…
What has God been speaking to you about, and what are you doing about it?