Listen Up

According to research, babies are able to recognize the sound of their mothers’ voices by the third trimester of pregnancy.[1] It is a miracle of God’s design that our dependent infants are born knowing their mothers. Of course, by the time they approach their teenage years, they may not always listen! That, too, is part of normal development as they begin to explore independence.

Did you know that you were created with the same ability to hear and recognize God’s voice amidst all of the cacophonous noise that surrounds you? The pursuit of increasing our ability to follow God’s wisdom and direction for our lives is the spiritual discipline known as guidance.

Richard Foster writes, “Guidance is the most radical of the Disciplines because it goes to the heart of this matter of walking with God. Guidance means the glorious life of hearing God’s voice and obeying His word.” [2] When we practice this discipline, we develop a kind of ‘perfect pitch’ in our ability to hear what God is saying to us. Jesus reminded us that we are his sheep, and thus we recognize his voice:

John 10:27 (Common English Bible)

27 “My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life. They will never die, and no one will snatch them from my hand.”

Sometimes God uses more than the self-authenticated voice of the Holy Spirit to gently lead us in our decision-making. Indeed, God also employs other means such as visions, dreams, signs, and even angels. It is not a cliché to say that you have received a sign from God! As you develop the spiritual discipline of guidance, God’s will for your life will become more and more apparent. Practicing guidance plays a significant role in seeking God’s wisdom.

When I was trying to discern my calling to ordained ministry, I listened very carefully for God’s voice through scripture, prayer, conversation with faith-filled friends, and other preachers. As I began to hear God’s direction through these many different microphones, I could not deny what God was saying to me. It was no longer a matter of just hearing, but also doing.

Practicing the spiritual discipline of guidance will bring us closer to God’s will and purpose for our lives. When you read scripture every day, ask God to guide you to respond according to his will for you.

Listen. Do you hear God speaking?

Listen by Kathy Schumacher

[1] https://babyschool.yale.edu/does-my-baby-recognize-me/

[2] Foster, Richard J., Richard Foster’s Study Guide for Celebration of Discipline. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1978; p.68

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