For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
When I was in high school we had a first year teacher just out of college. Now I would like to say that we were an attentive bunch of students but that would be far from the truth. Unfortunately we saw a new and inexperienced teacher as an opportunity for mischief, noise, and fun. Launching paper clips and spit balls from rubber bands, hurling wads of paper, and a whole lot of joking and laughing were the order of the day. But all the raucous activity came to a sudden halt when she yelled out in a shrill and ear piercing voice, “Shut up, sit down, and listen!”
As it turned out she was an excellent teacher but for us to know that we had to surrender to her abrupt counsel to “shut up, sit down, and listen.”
Charles Stanley, longtime pastor at the First Baptist Church of Atlanta once shared a story about a sickness that landed him in the hospital. Dr. Stanley was well accustomed with the old expression “burning the candle at both ends.” It was during that time when he was taken out of action that he discovered something he had been missing. He had been too busy to “shut up, sit down, and listen” to God. Dr. Stanley had experienced what many of us have experienced in our walk with God. He was so busy talking, thinking, and doing that he was neglecting to take time to stop and listen to God.
Are you too busy to listen to God?
Oftentimes, we get so busy just living that we fail to stop and take notice of God’s counsel. We become consumed by our own thoughts and ways and fail to get alone with God and just listen to what He has to say. Consequently, we miss out on some of the greatest blessings of this wonderful relationship with God we have through Jesus Christ.
Think of what you’re missing when you fail to listen to God.
We have an opportunity to gain incredible insight, knowledge, wisdom, and perspective from the Lord that transcends the limitations of the mind of mortal man. We would do well to remember His instruction, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
When you pray, don’t do all the talking. Listen to God.
Even when we take time to pray to God we generally do all the talking. “Lord, I want this, and this, and this. And please take care of this and this. And…help me to be a better Christian. Amen.” Certainly we should lift up our every concern to Him but we should also just “shut-up and listen” which is essentially what God meant in Psalm 46:10 when He told us to “Be still, and know that I am God.”
When you take time to listen to God, don’t stubbornly dismiss his counsel.
Christians are a very opinionated people and often very stubborn. We reach a point where we become so set in our ways that nobody can tell us anything. We shut down and close up to new ideas and challenges to our established thinking. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t adhere to sound doctrine, but I do think that we should always remain open to the ongoing instruction and direction emanating from the mind of Almighty God.
Some of us become so sure of ourselves and our opinions we seek to impose our will on God or His church. We take the “my way or no way” approach to serving the Lord. In 1 Corinthians 2:16, Paul writes, “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” How dangerous it is to get to that point where we think we have all the answers and act as if we were in a position to somehow instruct God. Such thinking throws a wet blanket on spiritual growth in individuals and in the church.
God wants an intimate relationship with you that involves a deep level of 2-way communication. You talk and He listens. He talks and you listen.
Listen to God through His word.
Of course, the primary way that God speaks to us is through His word. So it is vitally important to spend time in His word and to meditate upon it. But there should also be a time when you just get away to a place where you can be alone with God to sit quietly before Him taking in the magnificence of His presence. And there in the stillness…you listen.
What is God saying to you today? What new direction or instruction does He have for you? What wise counsel does He have for you that will keep you from danger or trouble? What new idea is awaiting you that will give new meaning, excitement, and richness to your life and the lives of others? What are God’s words of encouragement and hope to you today? Take time now to “shut up and listen” to God.
For more on this topic, check out this article: When You Need Wise Counsel
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.