Can’t hear God’s voice in times of trouble? A lifestyle of listening to God is the answer.
“Why can’t I hear God’s voice, at a time when I most need him?”
“How come I feel so overwhelmed with emotion?”
“Why does God feel so distant?”
These are all common questions about the listening to God lifestyle. And they’re often asked by Christians who are already struggling in the midst of the trials and difficulties of this life.
As Christians, we sometimes feel like we should be able to overcome or avoid troubles more easily than anyone else. After all, God is on our side, isn’t he (or more accurately, we’re on his)?
However, many of us feel overwhelmed when trouble comes our way. Emotions run high and that makes it difficult to hear God – but there is a way out. It’s about the kind of lifestyle that we cultivate when times are good.
As part of the marriage preparation I went through with my then bride to be, we were told one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard. The couple we met with suggested that we view our relationship a bit like a bank account.
At any given time, we:
The key thing with a bank account is that you control how far in credit you are, by investing more money in it than you spend. That way, when bad times come, you have more of a buffer to help prevent you slipping into the red.
We took that advice to heart for our marriage and one simple way our “weekly budget” worked out, was to make Friday nights our night.
To this day, every Friday night is our space to put all other thoughts away, pack the kids off up to their rooms (a little easier or harder, depending on their age), and concentrate on each other. No chores, a good meal, a bit of telly, just the two of us.
Looking back through the eyes of experience, I say it works. Keeping a positive balance in our marriage has helped us to get through some incredibly tough times: everything from tight finances and work difficulties, to health troubles.
Importantly, I’ve found that this principle works for any relationship. And in particular, it works for my relationship with God.
I can be carried by others, if I am “out of credit” with the Lord. It’s great to be part of a community of believers. Even better, I know that when my faith is all prayed out, then your faith can intercede on my behalf.
But wouldn’t it be better if I could stay in credit in the first place?
If I can build up interest in my heavenly account when times are good, I can develop a greater capacity to deal with difficulties when they arise. And the way to do that is to establish a lifestyle of listening to God.
Let me say that again: What you and I need is a lifestyle of listening to God.
A lifestyle of listening to God is one where we aim to spend all our time in relationship with the Lord.
Jesus is our model for this. He lived perfectly at ease with his Father, sometimes spending long periods of time alone with him, but always living, speaking and acting in reference to his Father. As Jesus himself said, “I only do what I see the Father doing” (John 5:19).
The point bears repeating once more: By learning to seek the Lord in every circumstance, when life is good, we make it easier to hear from him when times are bad. If we view listening to God as a task, our tendency may be to procrastinate. However, when we develop listening as a lifestyle, we create habits that become the path of least resistance.
We then become used to experiencing the presence of God, so that his throne room becomes our natural habitat. As others have said before me, we end up living lives that are “naturally supernatural”.
Of course, you may be reading this and feel that it sounds too far out of reach. What was easy for Jesus may not be for us.
Jesus had a lot of advantages over us. He was sinless and he started listening to his Father very early on in his life (Luke 2:49).
However, he called himself “the son of man” for a reason: to show us that he did what he did, not because he was the son of God, but because he was a human being, filled with God’s power – the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ lifestyle is available for you and me, because we are also human and he has promised us the same Holy Spirit. All we have to do is take hold of it.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but I am determined to move from where I am, to say with Jesus, “I only do what I see the Father doing”.
How we do that, how we establish this lifestyle, will be the subject of my next post.
Will you come with me on this journey? To live a life so in tune with God, that you and I can become “naturally supernatural”, whatever our circumstances?
We may not get there in one day, but it’s a lifestyle that is possible and it’s surely one that is worthwhile.
If you want to learn more about hearing God’s voice and how you can have a lifestyle of listening to him, download your FREE eBook, How To Hear God’s Voice. Enter your email below to get your copy.
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