Learn to Listen

Decades ago, soon after coming to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I wrote a poem about the journey that had brought me to that point. I titled it “There Comes a Knowing.” Though at the time I thought it applied only to the pathway to salvation, I have since come to understand that it is a lifetime journey, a “coming to know” the heart of the Father over and over again.

1 Samuel 3:7
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.

For there is so much to learn, or re-learn, actually. Before we receive Jesus as Savior and have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we think as the world thinks. In fact, there’s no other way we can think, for the Scriptures tell us it is impossible for the “natural” or unregenerate man to receive or understand the things of God because “they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Jesus said quite clearly that “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). That’s where the “knowing,” or “seeing,” begins. After that, however, comes the ongoing process of knowing God more fully—seeing as He sees, thinking as He thinks, acting as He acts. Romans 12:2 calls it being “transformed by the renewing of your mind,” and it happens as we spend time with the Father, reading and studying, meditating and memorizing His Word to us, fellowshipping with others who share our faith—and then living as the Holy Spirit directs.

When the young boy Samuel first heard God calling to him, the Scriptures tell us that he “did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.” Even Eli the priest didn’t realize at first that God was speaking to Samuel—perhaps because Eli himself was not in tune with the Father’s voice.

I once heard a secular TV talk show host ask Billy Graham if he honestly believed God talked to him. The beloved preacher answered something to the effect that God speaks to everyone; the problem is that few listen or respond.

When Eli finally realized God was trying to communicate something to Samuel, he wisely instructed the boy that the next time God called to him he should answer, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.” 1 Samuel 3:9 Samuel obeyed, establishing a pattern in his life of listening to and obeying God.

What was the result? The Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground…. Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord. 1 Samuel 3:19-20

If we want to fulfill the calling God has for us on this earth, we must learn to listen for His voice… and then obey what He speaks to us. Listening to and walking with Him brings about a “knowing” in our lives that will defeat anything the enemy can throw at us, and will cause us to live in the fullness of our God-given purpose.