Hearing God in decision making

Two weeks ago when I introduced Noah’s post about hearing God in in the midst of change I said’

Surely one of the most stress inducing questions in life for many Christians is What does God want to do with my life?

Change is a time of great insecurity, literally things that were once static are now in motion, and the sense of a lack of control naturally fills us with fear.

One of the most consistent challenges in the midst of change is a lack of ability to able to sense God’s leading. Recently I read “Listening to God in times of choice – The art of discerning God’s will” By Gordon T. Smith, the rest of this post are some of my reflections on a central theme of that book;

One of the key insights in the early part of this book is the idea that hearing God is actually a skill. This may be a counter-intuitive to many who feel a claim as wildly supernatural as hearing the voice of the creator of the universe, could not be something to be missed. But put simply, discerning God’s voice in the midst of change can feel like picking out a friend’s voice in screaming crowd at a football stadium. In times of choice the volume of;

  • your emotions
  • responsibilities,
  • well meaning friends,
  • cultural influences,
  • worldview

All feel like they turn up to 11. In reality our awareness or receptiveness gets turned up, so things which were already loud influences become overwhelming.

Over the past couple of years I’ve awoken afresh to the importance of ‘presence’ in Christian life. Jesus said to his followers, before his ascension, “Surely I am with you, until the end of the age”. Pentecost was the fulfillment of that counter-intuitive sentiment, and God’s empowering presence, Holy Spirit, draws is into the presence of the Father in the Son. So God’s presence to us is not actually our problem here. The issue is related to our presence, or attentiveness to God. In truth our presence-problem is not a problem only in our God-relationship, it is a problem in our human relationships, you can ask spouses, children and pretty much anyone, there is a difference between physically being there and being fully present.

So, what does this all have to do with making choices, for Smith, cultivating communion with God during time with less transience is what equips us with the presence, and ears to hear during those times when the volume is turned up.

Some people react against this idea of consistent communication and seeking for divine guidance. I can understand this, some hyper-charismatic personalities can sometimes create an extreme which seems unnecessary, and all of their seeking of guidance ends up putting them at the center of the world, and some how it feels like spirit-empowered narcissism!

But simply because it has been abused doesn’t mean we should jettison the invitation to live in communion with God, hearing his voice, knowing he hears ours, and yielding ourselves to him as he satisfies our deepest longing to be known and heard. In the same way someone legalistically, cold-heartedly and selectively uses scripture to attack others and it doesn’t convince us that scripture itself should be thrown out. The same goes for our commitment to live in tangible awareness and communion with God’s presence.

What gets in the way of you consistently bringing yourself back into an awareness of God’s presence and actively yielding to Him?

What contributes to your sense of God’s nearness and communion in your life?

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