17 Mar How to Hear God Better?
Hindrances to Hearing
Young people in the workforce today are often stressed. Increasingly, they are disappointed and disillusioned in the workplace. As a result, many of them find greater freedom doing their own thing or starting their own business. “I am my own boss; I work as much as I need to. Why should I work for an organisation that squeezes me until I have no social life, no time for church and no other time for anything else?”
What do we have to offer in a situation like that? It is not just the young people, but also the older workers. Because there is a tightening of screws, more is demanded of them. So, the world we are living in now is becoming quite untenable.
Besides stress, there are distractions, for example, mobile phones. What do we do when we wake up in the morning? Many people would first check their phone instead of saying, “Good morning, Lord.” This mobile phone can become an idol, a distraction. So, we must always seek the Lord Jesus before we seek anything else.
Our lives become cluttered, not just physically or materially, but the mind becomes cluttered, the heart becomes cluttered.
To hear better
With the many things cluttering our lives, there are three things we can consider as options to help us hear better:
Redirect our lives
Unless we constantly redirect our lives, we will drift because after a while, we will just follow the wind patterns, waves or currents. Drift is a very dangerous thing. It is one of the main themes in Hebrews. Because of the very powerful forces at work in our world, we will start drifting if we do not constantly recalibrate our lives.
Psalm 27 is a beautiful psalm. One of the things the psalmist says is, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” (27:4 NIV).
Interestingly in this psalm, God’s house is mentioned in different ways – the house of the Lord, the temple, the tabernacle. In all of this, the simple thing is to worship God. And in verse 8, “Your face, Lord, will I seek”. So, to me, it is our life’s motto. Throughout our life journey, there is one thing that must dominate our lives – “I will seek You, O Lord”. It is interesting the psalm ends here – in verses 13 and 14, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
In all your life, you are seeking the Lord, the face of the Lord, and at the end of your life, you will see Him face-to-face in the land of the living – Heaven. I like the connection between ‘seek’ and ‘see’ because those who will see the Lord are those who seek Him all their lives. So, it is this motto that must guide our lives no matter what our profession is, no matter which church we attend, what our life circumstances are. We are called to seek the Lord first.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33), the Lord Jesus said. So, we need to ponder over the direction of our lives and to make necessary changes to redirect our lives.
Unclutter our lives
To do so, we need to remove things from our lives that have no eternal significance. That could mean hobbies, things we are addicted to, and it could even mean good things. The ‘good’ things in life can actually prevent us from getting the ‘best’ in life. In the world, and the workplace, Christians should not pursue the ‘good’ life; Christians should pursue the ‘best’ life – the secret of finding fulfilment in Christ.
In Hebrews 12:1, the writer says: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”.
If you have ten credit cards instead of one, you spend more time watching over your credit cards and statements. However, if you only have one card, you would have no problem. One of the things I notice also is we spend far too much time making commercial decisions that do not have ultimate significance, like buying a television, laptop, car, or deciding holiday destinations. Maybe we are giving too much attention and time to inconsequential decisions, commercial choices. Although in life we have to choose or buy this or that, treat it lightly so we have more time for the eternal questions, or choices that have eternal significance.
Find our vocation
When John Wesley said, “I only do what God wants me to do, I do not take up anything that I cannot do”, he was very realistic about his commitments. I think that is a good Christian, biblical response. If we were to take up more than what God wants us to do, we will become burnt out – we will begin to do the popular things and what society expects of us but end up not doing God’s work.
Vocation is important, and vocation is not just serving in church or going for a mission trip. Vocation is simply doing what God wants us to do. In Latin, ‘vocation’ is connected with ‘voce’ – the voice. So ‘vocation’ comes from hearing the voice of God. When we hear God’s voice and act accordingly, we discover our ‘vocation’. Perhaps that is what Jesus meant when He said, “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice…”
The above articles were presented as a talk by Bishop Emeritus Dr Robert Solomon at ‘Everyday Spirituality at the Workplace’, a seminar organised by Graduates’ Christian Fellowship on 22 September 2018.
Written by Robert M. Solomon
Bishop Emeritus Dr Robert Solomon served as Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000–2012. He was also one of the vice-presidents of FES from 2001–2014. Bishop Solomon has authored many books and contributed numerous articles to theological dictionaries and journals. He has degrees in medicine, theology, intercultural studies, and pastoral theology. Today, he has an active itinerant ministry of preaching and teaching in Singapore and abroad.