Friday, May 22, 2009

Listening for His Voice

by Cindy Frauenheim

“…so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, "Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army." 2 Samuel 5:23-24

When I read this passage recently, I was just blown away by how specific the answer was to David’s question! I immediately thought how lucky David was to be able to have clear and specific answers when he had big decisions to make. Wouldn’t that be nice? But as I gave it more thought, I realized that I often don’t acknowledge just how fortunate I am to have the very Spirit of God residing in me. After Jesus was resurrected and ascended to be with God, God gave us the person of the Holy Spirit. This is an amazing privilege, and access to the very mind of Christ. We also have the completed scriptures. David did not have this. And God even helps me to understand the Word through his spirit:

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13a

When I have a decision to make, this is what I usually do:

  • I inquire of God through prayer, then
  • I often tend to seek out the advice of others I trust
  • I go to my Bible to find out how to act in accordance with his will
  • I look at circumstances (probably way too much), and use reason and common sense

These are all good, and I believe it’s wise to use all of them together. But I admit that I need more practice in really listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit as I do all these things. It’s almost as if I don’t really believe that God will speak to me this way. It’s not as tangible. I am hesitant because I don’t trust myself or my feelings. But in numerous scriptures he has promised to guide us with his spirit. I need to take him at his word and expect him to speak to me this way. Of course I also need to check what I think I hear from God against his Word and in light of godly counsel. But sometimes I will pray for direction and then try to figure out what to do on my own. I’m sure many of you have much better practice with this, and have learned to discern how God speaks to you. I am convicted that I need to mature in this way. I am resolved to be a better listener, and with God’s help, to come to recognize and trust his voice completely. I love how the Message puts it, from one of my favorite passages of scripture:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Proverbs 3:5-7 (The Message)

Lord, thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. Forgive me for not believing that you can clearly communicate to me through your spirit. Please teach me how to discern your voice. Help me to be quiet and still enough to allow you room to speak. Please give me wisdom to rightly hear you, and the patience to wait for you. Keep me diligently in your Word, and give me willingness to seek and learn from godly counsel. Thank you that you don’t leave me to flounder on my own, but you care intimately about every decision I make and desire to lead me into your perfect will.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your transparency in relating your struggle to LISTEN....I confess that I struggle in this area as well. I will pray for CONFIDENCE for both you and myself as we learn to be better listeners.