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Can You Hear Me Now? Part Two: Obstacles

“What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things.”

Oswald Chambers

My friend asked me the other day how to hear God’s voice. I responded by saying, “People hear God’s voice more often than they realize.” When God speaks to me it is not in a booming male voice, rather it sounds similar to my voice. We tend to discount God’s voice because we think it’s just our thoughts. There are other obstacles to overcome in order to listen to God’s voice.

Life races by with our jam-packed calendars. Being busy makes it difficult to sit quietly before the Father’s feet. Elisabeth Elliot said, “If Satan can’t get you to sin, he’ll keep you busy.” Even service to God can be an obstacle if it squeezes out your time alone with the Lord. It seems God has more invested interest in speaking to us than we have in hearing Him.

I had to train my mind to ignore distractions and focus on listening to God’s voice. The Lord once calmed my frustrations with this word: It doesn’t bother Me when your mind bounces off onto many things when you’re trying to sit still and hear my voice. What matters more to Me is that you want to spend time alone with Me.

Sin and disobedience are other hurdles to hearing God’s voice. Sin hardens our hearts which desensitizes our ability to hear the Spirit’s whisper. Fear of looking foolish, a.k.a. pride, keeps us from obeying what God asks us to do. It’s better to take the risk and obey God and reap His blessings, rather than submit to fear of man and turn your head away from obedience. We’re afraid God will ask us to do something that might cost us. Like the time He asked my husband and me to go on a mission trip to Kabul when the Taliban tried to take it over in 1995.

Our unbelief and ignorance of who God is and His nature prevent us from believing it’s His voice we are hearing. Being emotionally wounded and having unforgiveness in our hearts sets up barriers to hearing God’s voice, like built up wax in our ears, muffles what we hear.

We don’t want to listen for God’s voice because then we’re accountable to obey Him. We’d rather run our lives than follow His lead. James 1:22 gives us this instruction: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” We hear His voice to heed it. Priscilla Shirer says, “God doesn’t just speak to be heard. He speaks to be obeyed.” Don’t ask for a fresh word from the Lord until you have obeyed the last one He gave you.

All these obstacles can be overcome if we want to hear God’s voice. The choice is ours.

“He is always whispering to us, only we do not always hear because of the noise, hurry and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.”

Frederick William Faber

Relevant Reflections:

1. Which obstacle do you struggle with the most?

2. Name one action you can take this week to jump over the hurdle to hearing God’s voice.

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