Listening to God calls for a cessation of normal activity, but it is not a time to remain idle. Our posture must be submissive, while leaning forward.
In my first semester at Dallas Theological Seminary, the list of classes included “Bible Study Methods,” then taught by “Prof” Howard Hendricks. His had been one of several names that graced the shelves of my father’s library, so I was excited to learn firsthand from this master of teaching.
I routinely arrived for class thirty minutes early to be first at the classroom doors. As the previous class dismissed, I would slip in, make my way to the front along the side wall, and wait for a front-row-center desk to open up. And Lord help anyone who happened to get between me and that desk! I was more aggressive than an Evangelical in a church parking lot!
We’re more likely to hear from God when we place ourselves in an optimal position. Front-row-center, no distractions, pen and paper in hand, well-rested, and leaning forward.
Having ceased normal activity for a time, here is what I have been doing to make this unscheduled Sabbath “solemn,” to give my rest purpose.
First, I repented of my sins and made certain my primary relationships were clean and clear of unresolved conflict (Matthew 5:23–24; 1 Peter 3:7).
Second, I began a daily Scripture-reading program. When I most need to hear the Lord, I gravitate to the Gospels. There’s just something soothing and clarifying about hearing the words of Jesus and observing His actions.
Third, I called upon several faithful friends to pray for me as I sought direction from the Lord.
Fourth, I began reading books that relate to the issues at hand: identity, calling, and vocation.
Fifth, because my particular circumstance involves a reevaluation of my identity and calling, I reviewed some old personality assessments and took some new ones.
Finally, because creativity makes my brain work better, I began indulging some random creative whims:
I resurrected this blog (as a more personally satisfying alternative to journaling) and relaunched the Redemptive Divorce Web site.
I created the “Jesus-Actual” Social Media and Web Site.
I conducted a Christian Leadership Alliance Workshop.
I led a Christian Leadership Alliance Webinar (now accessible to CLA Members only).
These activities, combined with lots of conversation with loved ones and lots of alone time with God, will hopefully put me in front-row-center desk, where I can hear the Master’s instruction.
I don’t hear from God in secret instructions or circumstantial signs. Instead, the Holy Spirit reorders the chaos in my head to create clarity.
His leading usually points to a next step that’s undeniable. It may not be easy or comfortable, and it may run contrary to conventional wisdom, but it becomes unmistakable as a moral imperative.
It’s a next action that resonates as “right” deep down in that serene place of knowing that gives me peace when I move toward it and fills me with disquiet when I back away.
How do you position yourself to hear from God? What works best for you?