Nov 012017 2 Responses

Hearing a Quiet God in a Loud World

We live in a loud world. Noise is nothing new. Walk through the woods on a cool night and there are plenty of noises. But with all the benefits of technology, maybe the biggest drawback is the amount of noise it has added to our lives.

We are continually bombarded with sounds, images, words, and messages.

The result–not only are we aware that we regularly ignore some of the messages we hear, we actively attempt to bypass many of the voices seeking our attention (spam filters, fast-forwarding through commercials, screening calls, etc.). Yet no matter how much we attempt to limit the noise in our lives, we still live in a loud culture.

God is a quiet God. He speaks. He has chosen to communicate with His creation. While He is free to speak however he chooses, He most often chooses to speak in quiet ways. Rather than wowing our eyes, He has chosen to reveal Himself to our ears. And He does so quietly. Humanity shouts and screams nearly every message, while God quietly continues to whisper His presence, revelations of His character, and invitations to us to follow Him.

This convergence of a loud world and quiet God is one reason so many people do not believe God is real or active or loving. Having not heard from Him, they assume He doesn’t exist. But He does…He just speaks with a softer voice than people assume.

Imagine being seated across from a lunch table with someone very wise. You are seeking direction on an important business venture. The sage speaks quietly with intention and purpose. You hang on every word he speaks. In a quiet restaurant, he is easy to hear. But as the restaurant fills, it becomes more difficult. Groups are laughing and talking. Servers are bustling around taking orders and delivering food. As a line forms with people waiting to be seated, the host turns up the music. The quiet conversation is nearly impossible to hear. What do you do? You lean in. You stop looking the other person in the eye and start watching their lips. You might move tables, change restaurants, or ask the host to turn down the music. If the message is truly important, you go to great lengths to hear.

Never has humanity lived in a time in which we needed to use such intention to hear the words of God.

If you are not intentional in seeking the voice of God, you will likely never hear Him. Not in this culture. Not in the loudness of our times. His voice will be ignored, overlooked, and even if heard, forgotten.

You must seek Him. Knowing the importance of His voice and understanding the loudness of our times, we must intentionally seek to hear from God.

4 Intentional Steps to Hear God

While it’s nearly impossible to hear from God without intention, with just a little effort, we can greatly increase the likelihood that we will hear from God.

Before considering specific steps, make sure there is no confusion over one issue. God speaks to us through His Word…the Bible. While He is free to speak in other ways, those methods are uncertain and greatly open to human misunderstanding. The one thing we never have to doubt is the truthfulness of Scripture. For many, far too much credit is given to impressions, feelings, and pointless circumstances (a song on the radio at a specific time, etc) and far too little time is spent with the Bible. Learn to listen to the God of the Bible.

Here are four steps:

1. Weekly submit to Biblical preaching. It’s a foolish method of communication, but it’s a method God chose. Podcasts don’t count. Videos don’t count. Find an average man at an average church who diligently preaches the Bible. Repeat every week. Take notes and trust God to speak. (See: How to Listen to Someone Preach)

2. Daily read His Word alone. Don’t expect to understand everything. Don’t feel pressured to gain a great insight every day. But every day read at least a chapter if not more and know that over a lifetime this will likely be the greatest avenue through which God speaks. (See: A Simple Trick to Understand the Bible)

3. Regularly read His Word with others. Every community needs a Bible and every Bible needs a community. By reading with others not only will you gain accountability, but also you will invest in the lives of others. Possibly the most overlooked aspect of American Christianity is the fact that the Bible was originally written to people who would listen to it together.

4. Routinely learn from others. Podcasts, videos, blogs, books, and other formats should never replace involvement in a local church, but they can play an important role in our spiritual lives. Avoid the flashy titles and modern superstars, but find solid men and women who model godliness and teach His word faithfully.

It’s a loud world and it’s only going to get louder. If you don’t show intention in listening with all your important relationships, you will pay a price. No where is this more evident than in your relationship with God. He’s speaking. Are you listening?

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