There’s something inside each of us that assumes God is always listening – but is that assumption correct?Hearing and listening, while related, are not the same thing. We need to grasp this, because every area of life is directly affected by whether or not God is listening when we find ourselves in need of a little attention. If we assume, for instance, that God is always listening to us – and that assumption wrong – it can lead us down a road with all kinds of bad consequences. So, here’s the question: Is God always listening to us? Is He always listening to you? Well, it depends.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “COMMUNICATE”?
I know that I always want God to listen to my pleas. You probably do, too. It’s possible to hear another person and not be listening at all. We do this all the time. We tune things out so we can focus our attention on what we feel is most important. If you don’t believe me, try talking to someone who’s texting. They may hear you, but they aren’t really listening to you. (Yes, I just pitched you great fodder for a relationship-changing conversation with that special someone in your life who seems to be paying more attention to their smart phone than you.)
What does the Bible say about the way God listens to us?We know, for instance, that He is “omniscient.” By definition, God knows all things: “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;his understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5). But knowing all things is not the same as being presently engaged in all things. The omniscience of God must be understood in light of other equally important passages of the Bible – because the Bible is the best commentary on itself. Consider Zechariah 7:13when it comes to understanding how, and when, God listens to us:
“‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
If we want God to listen to us, we must start by listening to Him. Why? Because God is capable of hearing without listening. If we don’t listen to God when He calls, there can be negative consequences. It’s always beneficial to listen when God speaks. No one who listens to God will ever live to regret it. Listening to God opens up a whole depth of relationship with Him that mere hearing will never achieve. The listen is to pay attention. This is what changes us and changes everything.Do you pay attention to God? How is that reflected in your daily choices?
Yes, we all want God to listen to us. No one in their right mind wants God’s second-best when they can have His best – but are we willing to give Himour best? Are we willing to give Him our undivided attention throughout each day – to really listen to Him?Whether or not we do has a direct impact on Him – and this makes its way back to us. Merely hearing God, and knowing what He wants, is not the same as listening to Him. Remember, listening and hearing are not the same thing.
When we ignore God by merely hearing, we always miss out on life’s best, because we are missing out on the Author of life. Our lives simply go much better when we really listen. It’s what gets His attention. Zechariah 7:13 teaches us that when we pay attention to God (listen) it impacts Him in such a way that He listens in return.
Communication is a two-way street. If you want God to listen to you, why not start by developing the practice of listening to Him? To live your best life, study all of the Bible, not just select portions. Then, adjust your life accordingly. God wants to listen to you and me. The question is, are we listening to Him?