January 18, 2012
Listening to God
"So Jesus explained, 'I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.'" John 5:19 (NLT)
I want to be a woman who listens to God. But, sometimes I'm not sure if it's God talking or just me thinking.
And if I'm really honest, when I do sense Him whispering to my heart, I'm not always crazy about what I sense He's telling me to do. Like the time I knew without a doubt God wanted me to share my testimony publicly. I pretty much ran from that assignment for a decade.
Yet, I've learned over the past twenty something years when I listen to God, I discover His best for me. And, I grow my trust in Him.
I've seen again and again that His ways lead to His goodness, and when I follow Him, His mercy follows me. At the end of my ten-year spiritual sprint away from what scared me most — sharing the story of my brokenness with others — I surrendered to what God was calling me to do.
I started listening closely to Him and trusting completely in Him, so that I could experience a day-by-day abiding in His presence and promises. From there, His plans unfolded day-by-day.
I honestly thought I had been listening to Him all that time. But one day while I was seeking God's direction in some decisions, the Holy Spirit showed me I had a habit of asking God what He wanted me to do and where He wanted me to invest my time. Then I went about doing it, without depending on Him for direction each step of the way.
Oftentimes, I would seek God for the larger plans in life, convinced that if I figured out what He wanted me to do then I could become the person He created me to be, and fulfill the calling He had for me.
Have you ever thought: "If only God would show me what job to take; what man to marry; what church to attend; what ministry to serve in — then my life would be complete and I could trust Him with my whole heart?"
The problem is, sometimes we get a glimpse of where God wants us to go and then assume we know how to get there.
Or we get a peek at what He wants us to do and think we know how He wants us to do it. How many times have I made that mistake and then wondered why I wasn't getting anywhere?
Over time, God has taught me that He wants my spiritual ears more than my spiritual efforts.
He wants daily dependence, interaction and intimacy with me. And He is more concerned with my character than what I schedule for Him on my calendar.
In today's key verse, Jesus tells us that He depended on the Father for the large and fine print written in His life plan. He listened closely and obeyed quickly: "...'I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.'" (John 5:19 NLT)
Like Jesus, we will discover God's purpose for our lives through dependent hearts that seek to listen to His — day by day, moment by moment. Let's position our hearts, minds and souls to hear Him speak to us today.
Dear Lord, I want to become a woman who listens to You. I come to You today with a seeking heart, asking not only for direction but for discernment, humility and dependence on You -- each step of the way. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Rest Assured: How to Rest, Be Renewed & Remain in God's Promises and Plans — a message on CD by Renee Swope
How do we know if God is speaking to us? Visit Renee's website/blog where she shares how we can learn to discern God's voice, and enter to win her "Listening to God" gift pack.
Reflect and Respond:
Do I read my Bible so God's words and ways are familiar to me? Do I intentionally listen for God's voice, or do I assume I know what He wants me to do?
• Take time to pull away from distractions and quiet your thoughts, even if it's just 10-15 minutes.
• Tell God you want to hear Him speak - through a verse, a song, a person or a whisper in your soul.
• Talk to Him about your plans for the day and ask Him to show you His. Give Him permission to interrupt your thoughts and agenda and lead you in a different direction if He wants to.
• Then get ready for a day filled with adventure and companionship as you walk hand in hand with your Maker.
Psalm 119:16, "I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." (NIV)
John 14:31, "...but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father." (NLT)
1 Samuel 3:10, "The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, 'Samuel! Samuel!' Then Samuel said, 'Speak, for your servant is listening.'" (NIV)
© 2012 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 18 January 2012.