Listen to God constantly. That’s how Jesus lived his life and for you and me, it’s the third key to opening up a lifestyle of listening to God.
How do you listen to God constantly? That’s what I want to share with you today, in our quest to establish a lifestyle of listening to God.
Now, I want to build on that message and lead you into the next step: listen to God constantly.
There are many scriptures that have had an impact on my life, but in recent years, there is one that has influenced me more than any other:
Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does (John 5:19).
I don’t quite know when I first took hold of those words. Ever since then, they have become my obsession, although I fall far short of the ideal that Jesus expressed.
However, those simple words remind me that everything starts in relationship with my heavenly father and leads me into a place of worship.
Worship always brings me back into his presence, and closeness to my Lord brings fresh perspective and a clearer understanding of what he is saying.
Let me explain…
Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12).
I want to do the works Jesus did, including the “greater things” he talked about. But I also remember that Jesus said, “I only do what I see the father doing”. Taken together, I believe these two statements have profound implications.
As far as I can tell, Jesus did the works he did through being obedient to his father, all the time. In other words, in every moment of every day.
Logically, since Jesus only did what he saw the father doing, he must also have been watching and listening all the time – continually, as it were. So, if I want to do what Jesus did, then I too need to follow the pattern he established:
I need to watch what my heavenly father is doing and listen to him, all the time so that I can be obedient to him and do the same works.
To take this a step further, I think scripture implies 2 kinds of listening in the life of Jesus:
The Bible records moments when Jesus spent dedicated time focused on his father, listening to him in an intentional, conscious way.
For example, he once spent a whole night praying before he chose the twelve apostles from among his disciples (Luke 6:12). Here, conscious listening helped him to make one of the most important decisions of his life.
On the other hand, there are examples where it seems that Jesus heard his father in an unconscious manner.
One such time was during his conversation with a Samaritan woman who came to the nearby well to draw water (John 4:4-26). Jesus started off simply enough, by asking her for a drink.
But it was a leading question. He wanted to take her deeper into an understanding of who he really was and the living water that only he could provide.
When she asked him for some of that water, he told her to go and get her husband, to which she replied that she had no husband. Jesus’ response must have shocked her to her very core:
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:17)
The woman received a revelation then and there, realising that he must be a prophet. However, my point is this: Jesus was so in tune with his father that he told this stranger about her life, without even pausing for breath.
If it had been me, I would have had to stop the conversation and go into some sort of “holy huddle”, to seek the Spirit and get hold of what the Lord wanted to say to her!
We must recognise that we need both forms of listening; both conscious and unconscious. However, with time and practice, I believe we can move deeper into the unconscious form, and more frequently.
Jesus himself still needed those times of conscious listening, particularly for important decisions. His prayers in the garden of Gethsemane are a poignant reminder to us of that truth. But it seems clear to me that he lived the majority of his life in consistent communion and communication with his father.
I want us to follow in his footsteps and learn to live just as he did, but of course, you and I have to start somewhere. If you can first learn to listen consciously, you can practice until it becomes second nature and transition into the unconscious – the supernatural then becomes natural.
So, to listen to God constantly, you need to practice: practice, practice, and practice again!
Practice listening. Practice talking with your Lord …above all, practice the presence of God (I think there might be a book in that…). Get as close to God as you can and learn to stay in that place, even in the busy-ness of life.
If listening to God becomes your lifestyle, then you can follow in Jesus’ footsteps, in obedience to God. And your continued obedience will, in turn, lead you into the signs, wonders and miracles so many of us long for.
To summarise, use all the possibilities we have discussed in this series to:
Using these strategies you will create your new lifestyle of listening to God. Eventually, you will hear him unconsciously, just as Jesus did.
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