The Devotion of Hearing is the title of today’s devotional in My Utmost for His Highest. It starts out by saying, ‘Just because I have listened carefully and intently to one thing from God does not mean that I will listen to everything He says.’ Toward the end it goes on, ‘It is not that I don’t want to hear God but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life. I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions. God may say whatever He wants, but I just don’t hear Him.’
Usually I doodle then write a response. This morning I feel like I need to do it backward because I have so much going through my head regarding this ‘hearing’ thing. I have always been drawn to God and always wanted to ‘hear’ Him. Weird thing is, I didn’t always want to believe what He said, so I’d find a way to explain it away. Mostly, I was just afraid to ‘hear’ because I didn’t really know His voice, I’d been following the voice of tradition and doctrines I’d been taught. What I was hearing from God was so unmeasurable in works for God. I was comfortable with doing things for God in an outward way, like keeping a certain day or not eating certain food, dressing a certain way and so on. It was hard to believe that those things didn’t really count. In fact I was a little offended that they didn’t because I was pretty good at doing them–for Him. When I measured ‘fruits’ I measured good, external, obvious deeds. IF I was truly hearing God why would He take me on a path without set rules–the Ten Commandments, plus…
Although I had a running dialogue with God and I was hearing Him only when things jived with my beliefs, I refused to hear Him when my beliefs were challenged. What if I lose my salvation because I don’t do x, y, z. What do I tell others that I go to church with? How do I say, I don’t believe this anymore when I’ve been one of the biggest proponents of a certain way of life. What will my family think of me? How will my children respond, will they lose all faith in God? I was up against pride and I just couldn’t, or didn’t want to, hear God on some things–all the while I was praying to know Him better.
Finally one day a small crack opened. “Do not lean unto your own understanding” haunted me. ‘But God,’ I said, ‘Surely you can’t want me to live without the rules and guidelines…how will I know what is sin?’ That’s when I discovered the REAL fruits of the Spirit. He said through His word, ‘Here’s how you measure. Is what you are doing loving? Does it bring joy and peace? Are you being patient and kind, and what about that person who is wearing you out, have you been long-suffering toward them? This is how you ‘measure’ if you want measurements. It’s about relationships with Me and others.’
I finally surrendered! I told God I’d give it a go and live a fluid life with Him, unmeasurable and unmarked. Since dropping the do’s and don’ts His voice is much more clear, an internal prompting. It’s unexplainable if you’ve never experienced it. The closest I can come to it is, you’re like a little metal car on a Monopoly game board, a magnet from beneath comes along and directs you, it’s as if you are compelled and you trust that you can just sit back and watch the scenery. There’s a connection, you are one in the dance of life, in a relationship, in continual dialogue….as Paul put it, you are praying without ceasing. I’d like to add, you’re also ‘listening’ without ceasing.
Challenge for the day, is anything or anyone blocking your hearing? If so, please drop the filters and hear God directly. It’s scary at first, maybe pits in the stomach. For me, it was the hardest thing I’d ever done–I’m not kidding, but I’ve never regretted it and neither would you.