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Listening to God – Walking With God

Scripture: James 1:22-25

I. Introduction: The Lord wants all believers to walk in close relationship with Him. The Bible reveals the Father’s overall plan for the world and provides general guidelines for life. But how can we know His specific plans for us? Listening to God is essential to walking with God (Life Principle #13). In order to know the Father’s will, we must learn to hear His voice.

II. Listening to God

A. There are two types of listeners.

1. Purposeful listeners attend church each week expectantly. They also put into practice what they learn.

2. Passive listeners may enjoy a sermon but have no intention of applying what is taught. Although church attendance might be part of their lives, they fail to grow spiritually. (See James 1:22-25.)

B. How do I “walk with God?”

1. Commit to discovering and obeying the Father’s will.

2. Begin with faith—believing that God exists and that you have a new life in Christ.

3. Pursue continual fellowship with the Lord, and seek to live in His presence daily—even when difficulties arise.

4. Walk in truth, obeying Him cheerfully, and your relationship with Him will grow more intimate.

5. Allow the Holy Spirit to work within you to bring peace, confidence, security, and joy into your life.

6. Separate yourself from sin, and strive to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Rely on the Spirit to help you live in a way that pleases God.

C. The Bible teaches us to listen intently.

1. In Matthew 17:5, the Father told Peter, James, and John to listen to His Son.

2. Christ began the parable of the sower by telling His followers, “Listen!” (Mark 4:3).

3. To the crowd, our Lord said, “Listen to Me, all of you” (Mark 7:14).

D. God has spoken throughout history.

1. Biblical history: God spoke to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Saul of Tarsus, the apostle John, and many others.

2. Church history: Reformation came because God spoke to Martin Luther about salvation by grace. (See Galatians 2:16.) This revelation transformed Christianity.

E. What happens when believers don’t listen to God?

1. News articles, television shows, and the advice of friends may become our primary influences.

2. If we don’t know the Scriptures, we can be easily deceived and drift into sin.

3. We develop a tendency to reject biblical passages that condemn our choices.

4. Unwise decisions and sinful choices mark our lives and almost always hurt those around us.

F. How do we listen to God?

1. Read the Bible. He will never tell you something that contradicts His Word.

2. Listen to the Holy Spirit. One of His jobs is to guide you by speaking to your spirit.

3. Pray. Prayer is talking and listening to God. Read at least a small portion of Scripture each day, and ask God to speak through it.

4. Be watchful. Look for the Lord to reveal Himself to you through circumstances. When life takes you by surprise, ask Him what He is doing. Watch for Him to guide you through open and closed doors.

5. Expect Him to guide you through others. He will use pastors, parents, friends, family members, and at times even strangers to lead you. Just be careful to evaluate everything in the light of Scripture.

G. What’s the appropriate “posture” of listening to God?

1. Reflective—Meditate on biblical passages. That is, slowly and thoughtfully read a section over and over.

2. Prayerful—As you read God’s Word, ask for His help in applying it.

3. Submissive—Be willing to obey whatever the Lord tells you to do.

4. Expectant—God promises to speak to us; anticipate that He will meet you in a personal way.

5. Patient—On important decisions, it’s sometimes necessary to pray for weeks before understanding what the Lord is saying.

III. Conclusion: Nothing in this world compares to hearing God’s voice. The Sovereign of the universe holds all power, and He has the resources to meet every need you have. Don’t you want to intimately know that kind of Person? You can—simply be willing to listen to Him.

(By Dr. Charles F. Stanley. Copyright 2012 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org.)