Oh, you may hear Him, but that isn't the same as listening, is it?
They are related and even interdependent, but there is a big difference between just hearing and really listening.
You might have the physical ability to hear, but listening requires more than just apparatus.
Hearing is passive.
In fact, if you are a hearing person, you are almost always hearing something. You likely aren't even aware of most of the sounds because you--like all humans--have developed unconscious ways to automatically filter the sounds around you. You hear them, but you don't process them or attach meaning to the input.
Listening, on the other hand, is active.
Listening to God requires effort.
Listening to God requires focus and attention.
Perhaps most important when it comes to receiving what God wants us to receive, listening requires silence.
Here is how you can really listen to God:
- Silence your environment. Find a comfortable place that is not cluttered by sounds, sights, scents, sensations, or other extraneous stimuli.
- Silence your body to listen to your words. Be still.
- Silence your words to listen to your thoughts. Let your mind operate without words.
- Silence your thoughts to listen to your heart.
- Silence your heart to listen to your spirit.
- Silence your spirit to listen to God's Spirit.
You will note that this approach gradually removes the filters and distractions that stand between God's Spirit and yours. We shed the external stimuli and then gradually scrape away the layers that separate us and the One in whose image we were created.
Ironically, each of these activities makes you more able to listen to God by making you less active. As you become less active, you will become more sensitive to the activity of God's Spirit.
So, do you long to listen to God?
Then silence your self.