I’ve had a few people ask me why God doesn’t speak to them. They are eager to hear from the Lord, but somehow they feel like they’re not “special” enough for God to speak to them. I’ve also heard a few people come and ask why the Lord doesn’t use them although they are so willing to be used. Whenever I hear these questions or concerns, I am usually reminded of the rich man who came to Jesus in Matthew 19:16-22. This rich man had obeyed all the commandments, yet somehow he knew that there was still something missing, and he was eager to find out what it was. I’m sure he was not expecting Jesus’ answer at all: he needed to go and sell everything he owned, give it to the poor, and then follow Jesus. Ouch! As He usually did, Jesus got to the heart of the matter: you have to give Him your whole heart if you want to go to heaven. This is also true if you want to be used by God in any way… you have to surrender everything to Him, especially as He reveals to you what you are holding on to.
Those of us who have given our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ now have the Holy Spirit living in us. It does not matter what your social status, your race, or your gender are. When you invite Jesus into your heart, your body becomes a temple of the living God and your new life now begins.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
You now have a communication line with the Holy Spirit, and He is there living in you just as He promised He would be. The problem becomes are you listening? And if not, what is in the way? Is there something that is causing interference?
Salvation is the beginning of a personal journey where the Holy Spirit reveals to each and every one of us what He wants to do in us in order to increase our level of fellowship with God. Just as the rich man’s possessions had a stronghold on him, there are some “usual suspects” that keep us from hearing what the Lord is saying, and ultimately from following Him with our whole hearts.
The first and most obvious obstacle to hearing God’s voice is sin. Our attitude towards sin must be different from when we were unbelievers. When the Lord points out a sinful behavior in your life, don’t start to reason or argue its merits. My mother sums it up in two words: denounce and renounce. His word assures us that when we confess and repent, He is faithful to forgive us.
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
~1 John 1:8-10
Worry is a big thief. In this life we love to worry because we want to be in control. We want to know that we’ll be ok today, tomorrow, next year, when the kids are gone, when we retire….. We as a society are constantly worrying about everything! Jesus invites us to lay down all of our burdens at His feet.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
His promise is that if you keep your focus on Him, and keep Him first, He will give you rest: you don’t have to worry about anything! What a beautiful promise the Lord makes. Are you willing to take Him at His word and take up His yoke? My friends, I assure you Jesus is faithful. He is worthy of your trust, and He keeps His word. Do you need proof? Ask His creation. Each of them have stories to tell of God’s faithfulness.
When you walk with the Lord, you will have to face all your fears and by God’s grace overcome them all! Fear is not from the Lord. With the assurance of salvation, the psalmist and king David shows us precisely what our disposition should be:
The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
David wrote these verses in the midst of unimaginable circumstances: the king wanted him dead, there was nobody to protect him, people were lying about him and chasing him down….it was very intense! But David reminded himself that even then there was no room or use for fear. He was in the best possible hands. Fear is also a thief. It shifts our focus from the Ancient of Days to our current situation. The truth is again that God is faithful. Keep your focus on Him, keep your ears tuned to His Holy Spirit and you will surely hear Him.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
~ 2 Timothy 1:7
Another very big impediment to hearing the Lord’s voice or doing God’s will is holding on to offenses. This one is a real big obstacle, and admittedly for me this was the toughest. I come from a tribe of people who are experts at holding grudges and keeping them for extended periods of time! I am eternally grateful that by His grace, the Lord really helped me deal with this. I once heard a preacher put it this way: whether you are right or you are wrong, as a believer in Christ you give up your right to hold a grudge. I’ve heard a lot of people say the infamous line: I’ll forgive but I won’t forget. That is completely unacceptable. You must forgive as if the offense never happened, delete it from your records, and cast it out! Remember how Jesus told Peter he needs to forgive over and over and over…?
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
Forgiveness is very important, because the lack of it carries consequences. I love how Nelson Mandela’s said it: “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies”. I implore every believer in Christ to ask the Lord to help them overcome any tendency of holding grudges. If there was ever an effective “mute” button when hearing from the Lord, this is it! Ask the Lord to search your heart, and to help you truly forgive those who have offended you.
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But
if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
My overall message is this: if you want to hear clearly from the Lord, allow Him to free your spirit. Free you from sin, free you from worry, free you from fear, free you from un-forgiveness or resentment. Let the Holy Spirit do His work in you, and follow Him with your whole heart. As I mentioned before, these are just some of the lessons I’ve learned. There are many more. One thing is certain, when you allow Him to perform His work in you, He will surely transform you in a mighty way.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.