Flip a coin? Consult a horoscope? Call a psychic? Talk to friends? Go with your gut? Life is a maze, with a never-ending series of choices, all leading a variety of directions. How do you make decisions? How can you know if you are making the right ones?
Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). If you are one of His followers, if He is your Shepherd, He knows you well. He knows what you should do, and you can know that you hear His voice.
It is God’s great desire to share friendship and communication with us. He wants two-way communication; true dialogue. That is the only way a relationship of any sort can happen. In our daily human relationships we get to know a person through communication with them. Taking time to talk with them, and listening to the thoughts they share. It is exactly the same with our relationship with God. It is a true friendship. He talks, we listen. We talk, He listens.
The story of Adam and Eve is so fascinating, largely because they had face to face interaction with God Himself. The old gospel song, “I Come to the Garden,” is based on that experience. The song says that God “walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.” Genesis 3:8 says, “. . . they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day . . .” God still wants to relate to us in close relationship today. It is God's desire to walk with us through our daily lives and to communicate with us, His loved children. He wants to talk and listen. He wants us to talk and listen, too.
Jesus made it clear that we were created to have this kind of two-way communication with Him. Talking to Him is perhaps the easiest part. We talk to Him through prayer, just like we would to a dearly loved friend or family member. Prayer is how you begin a conversation with God. Think of it as saying "good morning." Tell Him how you feel, what you are facing, your gratitude, and concerns. Ask Him your questions. But after that, how do we actually hear Him? How do we get the guidance we need?
Listening to God is like listening to anyone; before you can actually hear Him, you must decide to listen. In any conversation, you cannot hear what the other person has to say if you are distracted by other thoughts, by too much activity going on around you, or if you are talking. The exact same principle applies to listening to God. If you want to hear Him, you must be quiet, undistracted, and focused. He must have your full attention. Since regular two-way communication with God is actually a life-changer, many people make a special time and place to talk with God every day. This minimizes distractions and helps focus. Listening to God requires a deliberate choice to shut out the chaos around you and focus your thoughts.
Almost everywhere we go, there are sights and sounds competing with our minds. The chaos keeps us from getting deep and real with God. Our thoughts stay on the surface. Actually hearing God's voice means shutting out the noise, not listening to the constant chatter of the world around us. It’s not easy, but it can happen.
God wants to speak to you, but you have to listen. No one else can listen for you! How about finding your time and place this week, and deepen your relationship with Jesus? He knows you, and He wants to help you learn to recognize His voice through regular communication.