Listening (TOSOF60)

Could be because I have no idea what I’m doing, and partly because the words don’t come or they come too fast, but I have really struggled to get this second podcast done. Let me just say life is chaotic right now. And, it has been for a few years. Instead of looking for a significant word that will define my year (Hope, Love, Yes) mine has been more of a theme. And, this last five years….”it is what it is.” Most times I can hear God’s voice in the chaos of life, but more often than not it’s the Enemy’s voice who comes first. I reckon it’s because his voice is accusing, lying, berating, quick and LOUD. In this in between world, that resonates most with me. Maybe you, too? I don’t understand it, but it is what it is.

I read once that the person you have the most conversation with on a daily basis is you. Constantly, throughout the day we’re feeding our selves information. It’s not neccesairly the truth either, could be true, could be lies. We are either openly or unknowingly listening to the enemy, who by the way, has only hated humans since they were created, first and If you’re like me, you have to STOP to hear the voice of God.

The voices battling for prominence during my day are: mine, God’s and Satan’s. There is a battle. (see Ephesians 6) But, we -God and I will win. To be able to move beyond lazy listening….there’s a process for me.

When I’m a lazy listener, I will remain, or maybe become , more defeated and depressed. The first ‘thing’ that comes into my head is what I go with. And, for whatever reason, it’s usually an unhealthy thing. Lazy listening brings with it a defeatist attitude that would be easy to sink into. Like a mud pit. The Bible challenges us in a few areas about listening – lazy or otherwise. (This is why it’s important for me to get back in the habit of memorizing scripture! So it’s in my heart and I don’t have to go to the phone or my bible). In Hebrews 4:12 it says, His powerful word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to LISTEN and OBEY.

If we are Jesus’s followers, we should have great hope that he himself has said, he is our shepherd and he KNOWS us, and we KNOW him and KNOW his voice. (John 10:27) At the end of this great promise from him he says, No one can steal them (his sheep – us) out of his hand! So, no matter how loud the enemy roars, no matter what he says, it has no other power than what we listeners give him.

Here’s what I’ve learned to listen to God:

Be quiet, be still, be intentional. Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer with an ALERT mind and a thankful heart. Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God. It’s going to take building not just on our faith, but our time.

Talk less. Proverbs 15:28 – The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking. Also, it’s hard to talk when you’re listening.

Be honest in your relationship with God. This is kind of a challenging one for me. In the book of John Jesus says he goes before his sheep and his sheep follow him, because he knows his sheep and they know his voice. (see John 10: 1-17) In verse 4 He says, After he has gathered his own flock, (talking about the shepherd who has collected his sheep from the protected group of sheep behind a gate) he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.

Ask questions: one of the most challenging things for me is to move beyond religious speak and ask exaclty where I am in my relationship with Him. Is it close? Am I honest with Him? Have I asked Him to search me and show me my wrongs so I can be redeemed? Uh, usually the answer is no. My spiritual muscles of listening, learning, loving etc are getting stronger but I’m a long way from where I need to be. It’s painful to ask these questions, and to listen to the answers and to DO SOMETHING to change, but our beautiful God, who loves us so much, is mercifully grace filled when He answers. He promised He would never leave us or forsake us and in this promise, we can confidently go to Him with all our ickness and sin and questions.

In addition to these things, I would love to give some resources that have absolutely helped me in my journey on the other side of 60. (Landed on 61 this month!)

Daily Devotional: New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp.

Music: I listen to the Apple contemporary music playlist which is often updated. But, my favorites are Mercy Me, Big Daddy Weave and Crowder.

Podcasts: Y’all…this is an easy one: The Brant and Sherrie Oddcast. My number one podcast that I eagerly look forward to.

Ok. Hope I made sense. Y’all be blessed and thanks for listening.

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