"In Jesus Name" - Day 7

Pinpoint Obedience

Years ago, I was at a prayer meeting and we were singing the worship song, “I Heard the Lord Call My Name.” It was while singing that song I had the realization that God can and does speak to me. This momentous point in time was the beginning of my personal adventure in learning to hear the voice of God.
Hearing God speak to us is something we all long for and is important to our Christian walk, but at times it can seem overwhelming and confusing. Maybe you feel like you’ll never be able to hear His direction or His voice. It may seem like it’s only for pastors, seminary students or elders. But that’s not true.
My quest to hear God began with much self-doubt. I was surrounded by pastors and other Christians who would say, “God told me” or “God said,” which caused me to question whether or not I could really hear Him. But as I prayed, John 10:27 came to mind: “My sheep hear My voice.” I knew I had a relationship with God, so that meant I was one of His sheep ... I could hear His voice! I didn’t need a theological degree. It was simple—His sheep hear His voice. Immediately, I confessed my doubt and unbelief to the Lord, and He forever changed my hearing.
One of the most common laments of those learning to hear His voice, and also of those who have been hearing Him for decades, is distinguishing between internal feelings and God’s voice. How many times do we wonder: “Is God asking me to do this or am I making it up?” I’ve found that a crucial step in hearing God is what I call “pinpoint obedience,” a practice of listening, hearing and obeying that has helped me fine-tune my ability to hear the voice of God. No matter how small the “nudge” or how quiet the “whisper,” I instantly obey. It may be to call a friend, turn off the television, review a journal, read a book, ask forgiveness or go down a different aisle at the grocery store. It doesn’t matter what He says, I hear and then obey. Through this process I learn, often through trial and error, how to differentiate between what I am feeling versus what God is saying. The lessons I learn by following pinpoint obedience awaken my hearing. Now I can hear my Beloved even when storms are brewing or when the stillness is deafening.
Pinpoint obedience should be fueled by the Word of God. Reading about others in the Bible who have heard from God and obeyed helps us trust His voice. The more we read and pray His Word, the more we’ll grow in the assurance of God’s direction, affection, counsel and character. As we learn His ways, it will become a blueprint for listening.
Years ago, I found myself geographically removed from family, friends, church and ministry ... from everything familiar. In the midst of crying, I asked God, “Why? Why did you take me away from everything and everyone I know? What’s the purpose?” His answer still resonates in my spirit: “What if I brought you here so I could have you to Myself?” At that moment, I surrendered to God’s plan for my life with a renewed sense of wonderment and expectation. If I hadn’t heard His voice in the middle of my storm, I would’ve continued under an emotional cloud without clear purpose.
The challenge each of us faces in the busyness of our lives is staying in a posture of hearing God. Sometimes when we’re talking with God, we want to just keep going on and not be quiet. But the Bible instructs us to do just that. Zephaniah 1:7 (amp) says, “[Hush!] Be silent before the Lord God.” As intentional as we are about praying, God is just as intentional about speaking. If we’re speaking, God isn’t. We have to be silent— “hush”—to hear His voice. If we don’t learn to listen, we may miss something God wants to say. Proverbs 8:6–7a (NLT) says, “Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.”
Without question, the key to hearing God is a willingness to listen and submit to Him in obedience. As you give yourself to these joyful disciplines, you’ll find a love language unfolding that will satisfy those deepest places in you that God has designed just for you, His beloved.
In the silence, You are speaking, In the quiet I can feel the fire, And it’s burning, burning deeply, Burning all that it is that you desire to be silent, in me.
~ Jason Upton

Prayer

Lord, I come to You today and say thank You—thank You for being present with me and for the opportunity to walk with You every day. You lead, and I will follow. I want to hear Your voice, and I declare I will obey if You will speak. Lord, open my ears, my heart and my mind to You. Take me on a journey so I might follow after You and experience all You have for me. I want to know everything You want to show me about who You are and who I am. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Activation

  • Listen to worship music and enter into your time with God through praise and adoration.
  • Make reading the Word a daily part of your quiet time.
  • Allow God to show you things you’ve never seen before.
  • Hush! Listen for Him to speak, and when He does, be obedient with what He is telling you.

Memory Verse

O Lord, hear my plea for justice. Listen to my cry for help. Pay attention to my prayer, for it comes from honest lips.Psalm 17:1 (NLT)

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