How to Listen, Despite Distractions

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Engage your logical mind for a moment and reflect on this situation. A very young boy left his mums home to live with another family. In that family were two sons, they were a much older than the young boy. Both sons were disobedient to the father and unfortunately the father didn’t restrain them.

Those encouraged many people to engage in wrong things. Would you have placed your young son in that situation? You would rightly be afraid the young boy would follow the bad example of the older boys. Well this is an extract of what happened to young Samuel, who later became a great prophet in Israel…!! Your circumstances do not determine whether you listen…you do!!

“God has stopped speaking to me…” have you ever said that or heard someone say that phrase? It can feel, of all the voices we listen to that God isn’t one of them. And the other voices we listen to, can influence the decisions we make. Yes the operative word is “can”. But you should take a few moments and read the story of Samuel in 1 Samuel 3, and to get the full context start from chapter one. Its a really interesting read. Samuel didn’t have to look far for distractions, they were right there in his new family.

God called out twice to Samuel and each time Samuel thought it was Eli calling him. Could this also be true with us today, that God is actually speaking to us, but we think it’s someone else speaking? As a result we ignore Him.

Even with all the distractions around him, Samuel learnt which voice to listen to and continued listening to that voice. And that’s the key…to be consistent. Problems arise when “we” stop listening. Like Samuel, we need to keep listening, continually allowing the Holy Spirit to operate through us.

You make it sound so easy, I hear you say!! True, it does sound easy, that’s because it is easy. The challenge is our minds have an unlimited capacity to complicate simple things. Take for example the phrase; I don’t know where to find God. The simple answer is, taken from the good book, He is already at our door knocking, we just have to let Him in…!!! In the same way, God is always talking through His Holy Spirit with us, the challenge is whether we are listening. And more importantly, the question is whether we like what we hear.

Sometimes we don’t like listening to Gods voice, because he may ask us to make unpopular decisions; or do something that may expose ourselves to ridicule; or perhaps even ask us to give up something we value. The obvious response is, certainly God won’t ask me to do that. Maybe He just did.

I recall at a previous church, being urged to place a small amount of money into the offering. A war erupted in my head and heart, as that was the last sum I had in my pocket and bank account. In the end, I gave in and with great reluctance placed the money in the offering basket. I argued with myself all the way home. When I opened the front door there was an envelope with a cheque, the note was thanking me for loaning them money about three years back. There may be no link. But God is eager to meet our needs…our failure to listen can prevent us experiencing Gods best for us.

God is reliable. He speaks continuously, so keep listening no matter what the circumstances are…no matter what the distractions are…keep listening and obeying His voice.

Be encouraged

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