One of the things I do regularly is to make sure that my mind is productively engaged. I am either listening to a song that inspires me, a message, an audio book or a course when I am free. This way, I make the most of every opportunity.
You can do the same too. Instead of worrying or allowing your mind to wander with thoughts, you can decide to feed it with inspirational resources that help you renew your mind.
One statement from a song, a message or an audio book can change the trajectory of your life positively.
A few days ago, I decided to listen to Robin Sharma’s audio book, The Greatness Guide as I went about my domestic responsibilities. Robin Sharma is the author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and The World Changers Manifesto. You can also listen to The Greatness Guide here.
But since I was going out, I decided to keep listening to the audio book using an earphone. Then I boarded a motorcycle with the earphone stuck to my ears. But it soon became difficult for me to hear what was being said as the motorcycle gain more speed. I tried to but I couldn’t hear a thing.
As I sat on that motorcycle, the Lord began to show me why people find it hard to hear His voice on issues of their lives.
“It’s just the way you feel right now. A voice is coming through the earphone yet you hardly can hear what is being said. I am speaking; it is the people who find it hard to hear.”
It was then I began to highlight the exact reasons I couldn’t hear what was being said through the earphone and the lessons the Holy Spirit was trying to convey to me.
I came up with four reasons we often find it hard to hear God or discern His will about issues of life from my experience on the motorcycle. These lessons would also help you evaluate your relationship with God and how He speaks to you.
The Open Space
While I was still in the privacy of my apartment, it was easy for me to hear what was being said. I didn’t have to use an earphone. But as soon as I left the gate of our house, it took an extra effort to hear. It’s why I had to use my earphone so I can direct the sound to my ear directly.
No wonder Jesus commands us to go to the secret of our rooms and shut the door if we want to hear the Father (Matthew 6:6).
If you are someone who has no privacy, it would be difficult to hear God’s voice. You cannot be a person of the public and also be attuned to the voice of the Holy Spirit. If you always find it hard to get alone with God, you will always find it hard to know God’s will for your life because God has no premise to communicate His mind to you.
This reminds of an incidence in the scriptures. Ahab had invited Jehoshaphat to go with him to war against Ramoth Gilead, and as a tradition, Jehoshaphat encouraged Ahab to inquire from God before they took off.
Zedekiah and about four hundred other prophets told the King to go to the war that he would win. But Jehoshaphat wasn’t impressed by their prophecy. There is a way you know someone is not speaking by the Spirit of God if you are also walking with God.
“Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him?” Jehoshaphat asked.
Ahab replied, “There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.”
Micaiah was invited and as predicted by Ahab, his prophecy was against that of Zedekiah and the 400 prophets. Ahab will not return from the battle.
Zedekiah watched with amazement as Micaiah brought forth God’s word to the King. It is that kind of amazement that you have when you see someone younger than you in the faith doing exploits for God. Zedekiah couldn’t withhold his anger. He “walked up to Micaiah and slapped him across the face” and said, “When did the Spirit of the Lord leave me to speak to you?”
Micaiah’s response was epic. It is the reason so many believers are like Zedekiah and the four hundred prophets of Ahab. We assume that anything that makes sense or feels acceptable to people must be from God. We fail to pay the price of truly finding out the mind of God.
And Micaiah replied, “You will find out soon enough when you find yourself hiding in some secret room!”
And that was why I couldn’t hear the voice that was coming through the earphone. I was not in some secret room. I was in an open place. And that’s perhaps the reason you have not been hearing God on the matters of your life. You don’t have a secret room. You rarely get alone with God.
Don’t get me wrong! I am not saying God doesn’t speak to people in public places. No! But to trap His voice in public, you must have been His friend in private.
God is not keeping things away from you. You will find out soon enough when you find yourself hiding in some secret room!.
The story of Zedekiah and Micaiah is found in 1 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 18.
Apart from being in the open space, the noise from the environment contributed to my inability to hear what was being said. Cars, trucks and other sources of noise were all over the place. These noises drowned out the voice of Robin Sharma. It doesn’t matter how great what was being said was, I couldn’t hear.
You cannot also hear His voice when you give attention to the noise. It would be difficult to discern His voice amid the noise. He may be speaking but you won’t hear Him.
Noise can be physical.
If you live in a noisy place, it might impact your relationship with God negatively. It’s why noise is called environmental pollution. It is hard to be productive in a noisy place. Much more, it is even harder to hear God’s voice.
Jesus often withdraws from noisy places into secluded places so that He can hear the voice of His Father (Mark 1:35). You must learn to practically find a quiet place if you want to take your relationship with God to the next level.
If you cannot find a quiet place, you must then find a quiet time; that time of the day when people are less active and there is a considerable noise reduction.
Noise can also be psychological.
You may be in a quiet place but you can have a noisy mind. The noise from what people are saying or have said to you, the noise of what you read in the news, the noise of so many needs and demands in your life including the noise from Satan and his army can suffocate the voice of the Holy Spirit.
This psychological noise is why people are depressed, discouraged and becoming hopeless. They cannot seem to hear or know God’s will amid so many challenges pulling them apart.
The antidote is what Paul prescribed in Philippians 4:6-7. I call it the combination therapy for dealing with a noisy and worried mind. We could get our minds back into a quiet and peaceful state with the combination of prayer, supplication and thanksgiving.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7
If you have not been hearing God’s voice, it could be because of the noise. Take a step today to deal with it either it is physical or psychological. Withdraw from the noise. Take time off work, social media and all other distractions so you can get alone, free your mind and allow God’s voice to permeate your heart.
Also, I had distractions. Other things caught my fancy along the way such that I couldn’t concentrate on what I was listening to. And distractions is why most of us could not discern the voice of the Holy Spirit.
We are committed to many unnecessary things. We are becoming more and more addicted to the internet because of the fear of missing out. You want to know everything and share everything.
Did you remember Martha, the sister of Mary? While her sister sat at the Lord’s feet listening to His words, the scriptures told us that Martha was distracted by all the things she had to do.
“But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving;…”Luke 10:40 AMPLIFIED.
And one thing about distraction is that it doesn’t have to be something bad. It may be a good thing; it is not just right for you. I was supposed to concentrate on the audio book but many distractions on the way took my mind off the goal.
We must develop the discipline and tenacity to stay focused despite all the distraction around.
You may say, “I am allowed to do anything.” But I reply, “Not everything is good for you.” And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT
The Speed and the Wind
As the motorcycle gained speed, the wind also increased and the voice of Robin Sharma drowned. I could barely hear a thing.
We are an age where things are done very fast; fast food, fast transport, etc. “Fast” is the language of the age. One of the ways you can break even is to help people get things done faster than your competitors.
People want to get married fast, get rich quick and make it within the shortest possible time.
Unfortunately, in a bid to go fast, we often miss His voice. Sometimes, to hear His voice, you have to slow down. You have to learn how to move at God’s pace. You have to understand that God is never slow and that His slowness is faster than the fastest of men.
God, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me — The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do. You’ve said, ‘Nothing doing! We’ll rush off on horseback!’ You’ll rush off, all right! Just not far enough! You’ve said, ‘We’ll ride off on fast horses!’ Do you think your pursuers ride old nags? Think again: A thousand of you will scatter before one attacker. Before a mere five, you’ll all runoff. There’ll be nothing left of you— a flagpole on a hill with no flag, a signpost on a roadside with the sign torn off.”Isaiah 30:15 – 17
Isaiah 28:16 says, “Faith that is firm is also patient.”
So, learn how to move at God’s own pace else you’ll miss His voice if you are too fast or too slow.
Eventually, I had to remove the earphone from my ears as it doesn’t make sense to keep listening to what I couldn’t hear. It’s also why people give up on God thinking He doesn’t care or He is not interested in their situation.
It is never God’s fault. He has spoken, He is speaking, and if you listen, you will hear Him. Instead of getting angry or giving up on God, why don’t you take time out to find out if you have not been hearing God because;
- You don’t have a secret place.
- Your mind is noisy or you live in a noisy place.
- You are distracted.
- You are hasty. You want it faster than God wants it for you.
He has invited you. He said, “Come on now, let’s discuss this.” (Isaiah 1:18 GW).
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