Listen and Act
~By: Lindsey Whitmore~
“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) is something I have heard in my consciousness since way before this pandemic first began. In other translations ‘be still’ is written as ‘cease striving,’ which means ‘to let drop’ or ‘let go’. In my case, ‘lay down’ was what I clearly heard, so then I waited.
Our only proper response after hearing a direction from the Lord is obedience to what He said. We would never accept this defiance from our children, yet we rationalize in our minds that God will.
How do we begin to act on what we hear? For me, it started with prayer and fasting. I slowly prayed a passage that I know well. With each piece I broke down in the passage, I have been broken down and shown how to obey what I have been hearing in my spirit.
My prayer comes from Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
During this special time of quarantine, I have been fervently seeking the Lord with these verses as my only prayer. Many others have lent their advice, but this prayer is a conversation solely between me and my Father; I desperately need to hear only from God.
You see, sometimes God brings us on such a counter cultural path that we can’t place our hope in others who will understand or agree, we just have to trust God in what He is telling us. It is always easier to have that reassurance that comes from another agreeing with us, but sometimes He tells us, I am all you need. He tells us plainly in His Word that we must trust in Him with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
Therefore, I will do just that. I will trust in Him with all my heart as He shows me what I am to ‘lay down.’ I will not rely on my senses or rationale, but instead His, He who is the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrew 12:2a) and the One whose ways are not our ways, whose ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). I pray that you will do the same.
You may be asking, How do I begin to hear God's voice? First, know that God is speaking to us ALL the time and desires for us to train our ears to understand. We must be people who read His Word with an open heart. We need to come into our time with Him with the expectation that He has something to say to us in response to what we are bringing to Him. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Second, like the Psalm above, we have to be diligent to clear out anything that could hinder His voice. It could be some unbelief we are carrying, our pursuit of lifestyle habits outside of God’s will for our lives, double-mindedness, unforgiveness, pride, or, what I believe to be the most common, busyness. Busyness is the adversary to being still. Busyness leads to us being easily distracted, disgruntled, delusive, and ultimately unable to hear God.
Ecclesiastes 4:5-6 warns: “Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin. Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”
James 4:8 says it plainly: “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”
Once we have postured ourselves to receive from the Lord, we must listen and respond to what we hear no matter how silly or uncomfortable it makes us feel. Many times God's voice will be small and quiet, but as we begin to train our ears by obeying, the volume and clarity will increase. He may choose to speak through a melody, a person, a sign, in our consciousness, and on occasion, it is an audible voice.
However God chooses to speak to you, may you be postured to hear, primed to listen, and prepared to act. May you always remember that there is someone waiting for the hope you have on the other side of your obedience.
Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” Luke 11:28