Updated: May 22, 2020
One of the most common questions I hear in my relational work, helping people to cultivate connection with God is, "I cannot hear Him." And absolutely it is difficult to cultivate a relationship with those we cannot hear or do not listen to. This is why the Bible is so very holy. It is God's gift to humanity and literally the most ancient guidebook to surviving life on earth. It is God speaking throughout history directly to us. If we want to hear from God, we must read His word. He tells us how to have a relationship with Him and how to hear Him.
If we truly want to hear God, it is imperative that we carve out time with Him and Him alone every day. I find mornings the best. I spend at least 30 minutes 2 times per day reading His word and prayerfully responding. My morning devotion is followed with an hour of meditative exercise alone with myself and God. In this time, my thoughts are directed at God. There are no interruptions, no music, no chatting of friends, just me & God.
If you think about it. How much time do you spend with the people that you value most in your lives? I would hope that you would spend at least an hour of one-on-one time with them. And God is not just any relationship, He is the source of all creation...Having established that we must absolutely put in the time in order build a relationship with God, let's begin to examine the roadblocks that we are putting in the way of our relationship with God and of hearing His voice.
The Apostle Paul gives us very clear instructions in Philippians 4:8 about how to be in relationship with God. He states, "Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things and the God of peace will be with you."
Well, what do we expose ourselves to and what do we consume in our daily lives that does not match Paul's prescription for living in relationship with God. Does thinking on the media match Paul's prescription for relational harmony with God? You say, how could we not consume media with all that is happening around us?! We have a choice. It is a simple equation. Proverbs 4:23 clearly states "Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts."
Imagine that you are a coffee drinker and you brought home some excellent coffee after a very late night's work. You could not wait to brew it the next morning before a very early shift. It is 5am, the alarm blares and you shuffle into the kitchen to make coffee only to find that you used the LAST OF YOUR FILTERS. You panic and in a snap decision, you use the old filter sitting on top of the garbage. You brew the coffee, anticipating the lovely taste and, "yeck! It tastes like tuna!" Think of the thoughts in your mind in terms of volume, if you check the news apps on your phone during a crisis 50 times per day and then watch the morning and evening news instead of setting the tone of your thoughts with devotion, prayer and meditation. Do you think you will be hearing from God?
How about this? Do you feed into or steer away from the gossip at work, church or pick-up at your child's school? For even hearing it is taking up volume in your mind that is serving as a roadblock for the purity of heart and mind that God's voice emerges from.
On the subject of thoughts, are they fear-based, are they negative or even condemning? Every thought that we think can be weighed on a scale in our brains. If Paul's prescription for relational harmony with God requires the scales to tip on the side of truth and purity, are we taking the impure and negative thoughts captive at their origin? Are we aware of our self-talk and the constant dialogue that we stream through our minds? Each word, Thank you or never has a positive or a negative charge and will tip the scales one way or the other. If those of truth and purity open our hearts and our minds to God's voice, its our choice.
Lastly, are we listening to God? Or are we asking Him to solve our problem's our way? Are we offering up constant prayers of gratitude and for others or are we asking God to do OUR Will. Are we praising, worshiping, adoring, and resting with Him? A dear Pastor took me on a meditation walk in the woods and gave me very simple instructions. "Listen to Him". Thus began my journey of silently abiding in God's magnificent presence and the stirring of His voice in my heart.