Learning to Listen

Now Samuel had not yet experienced the LORD, because the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. – 1 Samuel 3:7

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Whether or not you agree with the idea of a special “call” of God for those in vocational Christian ministry (as in a “call to preach”), I have known those who have struggled with it. I remember well my own inner battle that led me to walk away from an accounting career in the mid-80’s. One reason for my indecision was my own unfamiliarity with the voice of God.

When God first called Samuel, the boy did not know who it was. In fact, he did not identify the voice as God’s until the third instance. The biblical record states that this was due to the fact that, “Samuel had not yet experienced the LORD, because the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.” Samuel had to learn how to listen.

Are you currently struggling with God’s direction for your life? Perhaps even with His call to some form of vocational service? Perhaps, you just don’t recognize His voice. Take these few simple steps and see if they don’t help a little:

1) Like Samuel, say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” In doing this, you are identifying yourself as someone who is submitted to God’s sovereign will.

2) Read His Word (the Bible). Why seek a specific revelation while ignoring what God has already revealed?

3) Pray for understanding. Work in concert with the Holy Spirit who indwells you.

4) Listen to the Body of Christ. Talk it over with trusted, believing friends and then …

5) Actively wait. You can “be still” and yet still serve. God will use your active ministry to lead you.

God will direct your path, if you agree to obey that which He commands and wills. Just don’t act surprised if His guidance leads you to serve Him in a way that demands your total dependence upon His involvement.

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen. – Ernest Hemingway

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