Listening to God!
I was approached after service Sunday by someone who wanted to know more about what I said about “listening to God.” If you weren’t there, I was talking about a recent “Q” Day (Quiet Day), a day set aside to renew and refresh our relationship with God through reading the Bible, meditating on biblical truth, listening to the Lord and prayer. This is usually spent in a setting that makes it easier to disconnect from the busyness of our lives.
The Q Day is something I picked up from John Stott’s biography and it’s something I’ve encouraged our ministry staff to do each month. Taking a Q Day is difficult, most of us, including myself, don’t think we can afford to take one in light of all that is on our plate!
So, about listening to God—what does that look like for me? First, what I’m not saying is that I am listening for God’s audible voice (which God has done and could do) or looking for a message in the sky. God’s voice is
most clearly heard
and understood as we read and study the Bible—so that’s the first place to go. Having said that, when I quiet myself before God on a Q Day, I’m listening to what He would say to me through His Spirit, which is in me. At times, like last Monday, the “static” of my own heart crowded out God’s voice, but as I stay at it over time, I’ve sensed God’s encouragement or sometimes His nudging or direction to act. To be sure, this kind of listening is subjective and always requires us to make sure that what we are sensing lines up with God’s Truth. The abuses in this area, “God told me….” are many and should be avoided.
Listening to God’s voice is not rocket science—you don’t need a theological degree to do this or so many years of following Jesus, in fact, you don’t need a whole day to do this! Psalm 46:10 calls all of us to,
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
This is a crazy busy month and finding a day to be quiet will be next to impossible. You don’t need a day or even a half-day to start—try an hour this week, ok even a half-hour, or set aside some drive time this month when you are alone to listen to God.
What I’ve found is this—I’ve never once regretted setting aside time to draw nearer to God. I’ve always come away refreshed, encouraged by God’s greater grace, with clear direction on what it looks like for me to follow Him in the days ahead.
As I headed down to my office last Sunday, a former staff member came up to me and shared something that went like this. “Marc, when I worked here and heard you talking about a Q Day, I didn’t see how that had anything to do with my job, but I was told that I had to do this, so I did, and drove up north for a day to spend it with God. Marc, it was the best day for me—thanks for encouraging us to do this and don’t stop encouraging others to do the same!”
There it is, a challenge to intentionally set aside time to be quiet before God—I hope you take the challenge and when you do, don’t be surprised to find God’s grace renewing every part of your mind, heart and soul and giving you a renewed faith in the God who loves you and invites us to serve others with Him.
Looking forward to worshipping Christ together this weekend,