God talks to everyone. But not everyone listens. Part of the skill is to learn how to listen. There are many different forms of communication and listening can easily be overlooked. We may all wish that God walks up to us, stares us in the eyes, and speaks loudly. That is not God’s approach. It is important to understand some of the ways that God talks to us.
Through the Bible
God provided the written Word through holy men. The Holy Scriptures are provided by divine inspiration. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)
Use the Word to guide you through life. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Ps. 119:105)
Listen to Jesus
By reading the words of Jesus, we can “hear” and understand God’s heart.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
If you invite Jesus in, He will come. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
We should follow Jesus based on who He is—Savior and Messiah. However, he graciously encourages and reassures us by sharing the promised benefits—the most important of which is eternal life and living in the presence of God in His glory.
When we pray, God hears us. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1John 5:14)
Have you ever been in a conversation where someone is talking at you and not listening? Both sides need to listen. “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (Jer. 29:12)
God does hear your prayers, however you may not get the answer you are desiring. “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” (Ps. 17:6)
Have you ever had that “gut” feeling? Sometimes you know something is wrong or right. When you commit a sinful act often you feel guilt. Don’t ignore the guilt. Correct your attitude and actions and get right with God.
When we do something wrong we know there are consequences. Sometimes these consequences hurt ourselves and other times they hurt others. The worse consequence is being separated from God. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” (Is. 59:2)
“…hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.” (1 Thess. 5:21-22)
Through faithful followers
People need encouragement from faithful followers. The Apostle Paul said, “…keep encouraging one another each day,” (Heb. 3:13) Once in a while is probably not enough. It is important to have regular support possibly through Bible study, Sunday school, worship services, etc. When you are down or depressed it is especially uplifting to be encouraged. “…encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (1 Thess. 5:14) It makes my day when a faithful friend says the right thing at the right time. “A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!” (Prov. 15:23)
“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their hard work. For if one of them falls, the other can help his partner up. But what will happen to the one who falls with no one to help him up?” (Eccl. 4:9-10)
Many people love the music. Many people are so familiar with the hymns they can sings along without looking at the words. Don’t just sing the lyrics, but understand them. Know what you are singing and worshiping about. Sing with your heart. “…speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,” (Eph. 5:19) It’s not just the lyrics, but the music can tell a story through the instruments. “Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.” (Psalm 150:3-5)
Often you hear people say that they are not sure they are hearing the right message. The first thing is to cross reference it with the Bible. If it contradicts you may need to listen, research, and ask for more information. The second thing is to make sure you heart is right. Don’t harden your heart. Maintain a positive attitude and look to God for guidance, peace, and salvations. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matt. 6:33