Listening and Responding to God

June 28, 2017

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

 

 

 

During the time where I first began to seek God, I became frustrated. I sought and sought and He did not seem to show His face at all. After mentioning this to a friend, she encouraged me with a truth that became a huge stepping stone for me. She told me the only reason I had a desire to know God, was because He was seeking me out first.

 

There is Hope

 

Prior to that conversation, I felt like God was hiding from me. After hearing those words, I felt my heart yield and it settled into the thought that I would be led to God by God. That is exactly what happened. I followed God’s leading and met Christ. For more of that story click here.

 

He Continues to Pursue 

 

It feels easier to be led than to seek tirelessly without a glimmer in sight. Also, there is a sense of intrigue when you discern someone is seeking you.

God’s pursuit of us didn't just stop at the day we first met Him. It continues throughout the entire Christian life. When you pick up your Bible to read, it is because He first nudged your heart towards His word. When you turn on worship music, you are responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

 

Dry Seasons

 

Everything you do that is pleasing to God first starts with Him. When I was a new believer, I was thrilled at anything that could draw me nearer to God. I could literally think about a tree and find my heart doing flips from arriving at the reality that God is such a glorious Creator.

 

Unfortunately, that stage in our walk with God doesn’t tend to last forever. We begin to hit what we call ‘a dry season’ and the glow over everything we lay our eyes on goes back to 'normal.' Our hearts still love God, but the quiet times seem harder, and fellowship isn’t as engaging as before. Our reading just becomes reading. It becomes routine.

 

I had to be reminded again of the truth that God desires to hear our voice and see our face.

 

O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the crannies of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. Song of Solomon 2:14

 

He is the One that is chasing after us, we are just responding to His calls. We will call that 'spiritual receptivity' in this article.

 

A Noisy Life

 

Another problem we run into is our own ‘loud’ life. You know when you hear the tender whisper of the Holy Spirit beckoning you to pray or spend time in the Bible? What do we so often do? We ignore the voice. The excuse is that we are tired, we worked all day, the kids were extra energetic and we are sleepy. We need to turn our brains off and do something easy and mindless. We may say we want to have a closer relationship with God again, but when He calls, we sometimes ignore Him. Actions speak louder than words.

 

            I was asleep but my heart was awake.
            A voice! My beloved was knocking:
            ‘Open to me, my sister, my darling,
            My dove, my perfect one!
            For my head is drenched with dew,
            My locks with the damp of the night.’

 

             I have taken off my dress,
            How can I put it on again?
            I have washed my feet,
            How can I dirty them again?

            Song of Solomon 5:2-3

 

The bride of Solomon also did this. She got comfortable and didn’t feel like getting up to open the door for her beloved. It is the same with us, the nudge that once used to excite us becomes easily ignored for something else we would rather have. We have already gotten settled from the long day. We are already in bed. The list can go on forever. We have as much of God as we want. He is always calling out to us. After a while, I forgot what those nudges and whispers felt and sounded like.

 

My daily schedule went something like this:

  • Wake up early for quiet time…one that was partially spent groggy and trying not to fall back asleep with my morning coffee.

  • Then, I would get dressed for work.

  • Next, I would spend the work day at a job I enjoyed.

  • Afterward, I would have something that was connected to church or ministry-

    • A women’s get-to-gather

    • Helping serve a baby shower

    • Attending a church Bible study

    • Doing the duties of a bridesmaid

    • Preparing a secret birthday party

    • Working on school for my Masters work

    • Babysitting somebody’s kid for their date night, etc.

    • All to fall back into my bed at the end of the day exhausted and ready for the next morning's cup of coffee.

Working Without Fellowship

 

I was working and serving God and even having daily quiet time. The issue is that I had no joy. I was serving and working for God, without true fellowship with Him and with a bunch of exhaustion. I had too much going on to stop and listen to God. I mean, saying no to something would have been so ungodly of me right? I had to do 'this and that,' so I didn’t have time to be led by the Holy Spirit. I didn't have time to open the door when He knocked on my heart.

 

Francis Ridley Havergal once said, "Now, if we take the King at His word, and really believe that He thus desires us, can we possibly remain cold-hearted and indifferent to Him? Can we bear...such love - and meeting it with any such pale, cool response as would wound any human heart."

 

Relationship

 

A relationship requires time and communication. God wants to have a genuine relationship with you, and He is constantly pursuing you. Do you believe Jesus actually wants you and desires your love? He does! If only you can get quiet enough to actually hear His voice and respond.

 

I read a book called ‘The Pursuit of God’ by A.W. Tozer. That book opened my eyes again to the understanding that God really seeks us first. Read my short summary of the book here.

 

Tozer called it ‘Spiritual receptivity.’ It really is just listening and responding. There is peace and joy in following Him during each day. There is pleasure in looking for the ways He might seek to speak to us on a random Wednesday. When I quieted my mind and followed His voice, I found Him. We can learn to be like Samuel and come, even in the middle of the night

 

And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 

1 Samuel 3:10


I will end with a quote by Tozer.

 

“And always He is trying to get our attention, to reveal Himself to us, to communicate with us. We have within us the ability to know Him if we will but respond to His overtures (And this we call pursuing God!) We will know Him in increasing degrees as our receptivity becomes more perfect by faith and love and practice."

 

Please comment your thoughts. I would love to here them!

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