Currently in the Church we are spending some time reflecting on the 10th chapter of John's gospel.
In these passages, Jesus speaks about Him being the Good Shepherd. His sheep listen to His voice and they follow Him. The sheep do not follow a stranger because they do not know that voice.
In this same passage, we have the religious leaders giving Jesus so much grief. They resist whatever He says. This past Sunday, the first reading was from Acts, Chapter 13. In this passage, the word of God, preasched by Paul and Barnabas is resisted and contradicted by the religious leaders of the Jews.
Why do some people hear the word of God and some oppose it? Why are some open and some closed? How do we "hear the Shepherd's voice?"
Let's look at a couple of practical items:
What prevents us from hearing God?
It could be several things;
In Acts 13, Luke attributes the resistance of the leaders to jealousy.
We also could be so full of ourselves that we think we don't need to hear the word of God.
We may be reluctant to listen to God's voice for fear of what He might say to us.
Some of us don't believe it is possible that God communicates with us in this day and age.
Some of us have so much noise in our hearts and heads that we simply can not quite down long enough to hear that "still, small voice."
Some of us simply have no interest in hearing from God.
In some cases we are convinced God should "speak "to us in a certain way. We ar enot open to any other way He may wish to communicate with us.
HOW CAN WE ADDRESS THESE OBSTACLES TO HEARING THE SHEPHERD?
(ASK GOD TO HELP YOU IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS)
Examine your heart to see if there are any issues of pride, self-reliance, lack of faith, fear, willfulness. If you notice somehting, bring it to The Lord. Do not try to hide anything. Let God see it all. He already knows it is there, but for your own good , He needs for you to acknowledge the problem.
If there is too much noise in your head and heart, take action; turn off the electronics. Take a few minutes for a walk. Pay more attention to your breathing, choose to relax your body. Take a few minutes each hour to just relax and be quiet. Ask Him to help you, slow you down, quiet you down.
If you just don't care that much whether God talks to you or not, you may not have a hearing problem, it could be a relational problem. If you realize God doesn't mean that much to you, as embarrasing as it is, tell Him about this. Ask Him to fill your heart with a holy love for Him. Keep asking...then ask some more.
Be open to the possibility that God could "speak " to you through a variety of ways; He could speak directly to your heart. He could use the words of another person to speak to you. God can communicate with us through circumstances...or a moment of insight. He may reach youthrough somehting you read. Remember; He is God, He is not obliged to do anything a certain way just because you demand it. Be open to the possibilty that He may get very "creative" in how He chooses to communicate with you.
Finally, hold on to the belief that God loves you very much. He wants to speak to you. He wants to lead you out of danger and into the blessings of a new life. God does not enjoy watching His people trash thier lives. Give Him some credit! He loves you. He wants to help you.
God is speaking......can you hear His voice?