BY: CODY PHILLIPS
Have you ever wondered if you really heard from God? I’m kind of ashamed to admit this, but more often than not; I question if I am where God wants me. And no…not just geographically.
Am I fulfilling my purpose?
Is this what God has called me to do?
Am I supposed to walk through this open door?
Which opportunity does He want me to take?
Why are there no open doors? Did I not hear Him correctly to take this path?
If I truly heard His voice, then why do I wrestle with doubt in more situations than I choose to confess? Wrestling with doubt can be fruitful to our faith; it helps us interrogate our choices and our beliefs. But we can also mix-up interrogate and end up over-analyzing our faith and decisions. Interrogation can produce strength, while over analyzing will produce worry. When we worry, we start hearing the white noise of life and can no longer hear from God, or so we think…
In his book "Hearing God", Dallas Willard says,
EXPECT TO HEAR
Why can’t I hear from God? I’m not listening.
In order for us to hear from God, we must stop worrying. Proverbs 12 tells us that, “A worried heart weighs a man down”. When we grow anxious about hearing from God and worry builds up, it weighs us down. I like to think of it as standing in wet cement. The longer we stand in it the tougher it’s going to be to get out. That’s like our worry and anxiety. The longer we sit around and worry – the tougher it is to break the cycle and progress into our calling. While thoughts run rapid in your mind, you can’t hear anything or anyone. Let the peace of God guard your heart and mind. (Phil. 4:7)
When God speaks to you, be intentional with that word and obey Him. Willard’s quote terrifies me because I identify with it. Too many times I have felt God try to help me and my intention was to do nothing. In an interview, Heath Adamson said, “The last word from God is the fresh word”. Think back to what the last assignment was, and did you do it?
Maybe you did fulfill the last assignment, where’s that leave you? I would say in the same boat as David. In the Psalm 13, David gets real, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?...But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” If you have fulfilled His assignments and you still feel as though you can’t hear God. Do we trust in His steadfast love? Do we trust that He will let you know what to do?
In Psalm 16 David shifts gears, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy…” David shares with us a secret; our joy isn’t found in our next step or next position or placement. But joy is found in our devotion to God.
GROW IN DEVOTION
I personally believe one of the most devoted people in the Bible is Samuel. In 1 Samuel 3, he hears a word from God for the first time. How? Here’s my speculation:
- He expected to hear. He made a choice to be as close to God as possible. He literally slept in the presence of God. (1 Sam. 3:3)
- He was intentional. He served the church, Samuel and God without any guidance or even knowing the voice of God. He obeyed God throughout the silence. (1 Sam. 3:7)
- He grew in devotion. He grew so close to the Lord, that none of Samuel’s words would fall to the ground. (1 Sam. 3:19).
Like Samuel, God hears your prayers, we just need to start listening and obeying.
In his book “A Quest for Godliness”, J.I. Packer compares the church to a hospital, in which all of us are sick. We all struggle with doubt, security, fear, and the all temptations of this world. But we have our remedy,
God has provided for us in advance, our healing of doubts and fears come through active obedience. It is time to apply His provisions in our lives and let the healing begin.
Cody is a church goer, podcast junkie, coffee addict, inappeasable learner and an unending “The Office” and “Seinfeld” reference machine. He’s on staff at Oklahoma Youth Ministries. Cody is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and is currently working on his Master’s from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
// Twitter: @_CodyPhillips