by Dr. Foster H. Shannon
HOW CAN WE LISTEN TO GOD?
Should we just ignore the things in the world that clamor for our attention today? To our dismay, we see it filled with all kinds of evil: Thievery, deceit, cheating, murder, warfare, adultery, and licentiousness.
This is where the Bible has a lot to say that makes sense. It exposes all the evil in the world for what it is. It lays out a path for us to follow so we may have a good life, despite the evil in it. The message from beginning to end tells us what we are and why we are and who we are meant to be.
HOW DO WE LISTEN TO GOD?
God created the universe, the world that we live in. He created the plants and the animals, and he created men and women in his image to follow him.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1,2)
If we are to grow in the grace of God, we must keep close to Him in Spirit. He speaks to us through His Word in the Bible and through the Holy Spirit.
“THY WORD have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.” ~Ps 119:11
It is essential for us to be studying it every day to see what God wants to teach us, and what he wants us to do. When you read the Bible every day, it will come back to you, just when you need it, through the Holy Spirit. This is one of the promises God makes to us in His Word:
JESUS PROMISES THE HOLY SPIRIT
“All this I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.” ~John 14:25-27
The more you read the Bible, the more you will appreciate its value! It is guidance for life. If you haven’t been reading it every day, choose a plan for every morning or afternoon or evening and hopefully set aside one-half hour for your reading.
“O Lord in the morning, you do hear my voice; in the morning, I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” (Psalm 5:3)
“…For You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You take no pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” ~Ps. 51:17
It is God who teaches us right and wrong, so that we may know how we should live. Indeed, he has embedded a conscience in us , so that we may be convinced of what is right and what is wrong. The conscience is exceedingly valuable. We are warned not to corrupt our consciences.
“… the aim of our charge is LOVE that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.” (I Timothy 1:5)
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” ~Ps 51:10
God has given us the teachings of the prophets, the teachings of Jesus, and the teachings of his disciples. His authority is written on our hearts.
GOD SEEKS OUR WELLBEING
He wants us to have a good life. He wants us to be healthy. He desires what is good for us. To those who forsake the Lord he gives this warning:
“Therefore thus says the Lord God: “I spoke and you did not listen; you did evil in My sight and chose that in which I did not delight. Behold, my servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry; behold, my servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; behold, my servants shall rejoice, but you. shall be put to shame; behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart, but you shall cry out for pain of heart, and shall wail for anguish of spirit.” ~ Isaiah 65:12,13,14
When we pray, we speak to God. When we meditate, we LISTEN to Him.
“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it, for then you shall make your way prosperous and then you shall have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)(Matthew 11:28-30)
We need to be in harmony with God to have the life and life “more abundantly”, that Jesus promises. We need to sit at his feet and learn from him. We must be students, drinking deeply of the truth He gives for our good.
The Bible teaches us what is right and warns us against what is wrong. We are to love God first, and love our neighbors as ourselves.
“Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3,4)
“So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)