Tuesday, July 30, 2013
How to listen – Christ is in you!
WHEN you hear The Lord speaking, it is not Jesus speaking from the remote position of being “seated… at [the] right hand [of God] in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1: 20-21). He is speaking from within you. Jesus, or more precisely the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, has taken up residence in your heart.
God doesn’t live in a building – not in the Holy of Holies of the Inner Temple, not in York Minster nor Speen Chapel – He lives in you! That makes for a more accessible, easier relationship.
Mind you, it’s true that certain buildings have a special peace and sense of the presence of God. Our own chapel, with its 200+ years of generations of people gathering for worship, intercessory prayer and teaching from the Bible, each one bringing a bit more of the presence of God, leaves a good residue. It encourages angels, usually unseen but not unfelt. Another ‘place’, as the ancient Celtic saints used to call them, is the cross on a rocky hillside outcrop at the retreat centre called Ffald-y-Brenin in West Pembrokeshire, Wales. You may have read about it in the book The Grace Outpouring by Roy Godwin. That, too, is a ‘place’ to listen and to hear God (I certainly did on my last visit) – but the hearing is still from our inner being. If we are alert and expecting God to speak, we will hear Him wherever we are.
Ephesians 3:16 teaches us about this:
I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.
– According to this verse, where is God’s strengthening spirit at work?
Speak it out: “In my_______ _______.”
Because God’s Spirit is – to the extent that we ask Him, and allow Him, to fill us – part of our inner being, you can talk to Him any time. You always have available to you the inward witness (Proverbs 20:27) that He brings.
Here are four practical suggestions that will be helpful:
1. Be completely open to God. Let Him speak direction into every part of your life – don’t fence off any no-go areas. Often making this resolution brings you into hearing His voice right away.
2. Realise that at the first hint of an invitation from us, God comes to greet us, as we saw yesterday in Revelation 3:20.
3. You can begin your listening time with a simple prayer – a really simple one: 1 Samuel 3:10 “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” This is what the prophet Samuel prayed when he was still a child.
4. Wait quietly for His promptings. Sometimes His Word comes straight away. But don’t be impatient! At other times God waits for us to enter into a greater silence – as if to ensure our full attention.
Try out Samuel’s prayer now as you yield yourself to God and listen for His voice as Samuel did.