RSS Feed

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Mental Barriers to Hearing God’s Voice

In review of James 1:21 it says, “Get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls” (NLT).

As I look closely at James 1:19-25 this morning I find a lot about listening and about doing. In summary I read that I must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. For human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore I need to get rid of all filth and evil in my life, and humbly access the word God has planted in my heart, for it has the power to save me.

But I'm not to just listen to God's word. I must do what it says. Otherwise, I am only fooling myself. For if I listen and don't obey, it much like glancing at my face in the mirror. I see myself, walk away, and forget what I look like. But if I look carefully into the perfect law that sets me free, and if I do what it says and don't forget what I've heard, then God will bless me for doing it.

What James is telling me is that when I talk too much and listen too little, I communicate to others that I think my ideas are much more important than theirs. I’m advised to reverse this process. Put a mental stopwatch on my conversations, and keep track of how much I talk and how much I listen. When people talk with me, do they feel that their viewpoints and ideas have value.

These verses also speak of anger that erupts when my ego gets bruised. When injustice and sin occur, I should become angry because others are being hurt. But I should not become angry when I fail to win an argument or when I feel offended or neglected. Selfish anger never helps anyone.

James advises me to get rid of all that is wrong in my life and "humbly accept" the salvation message I have received, and because it along can save me.

Not only is it important to listen to what God's word says, but it is much more important to obey it and do what it says. We can measure the effectiveness of my Bible study time by the effect it has on my behavior and attitude. Am I putting into action what I have studied?

Just like the varied reception quality on cell phones, the same is true with me. I must be positioned correctly to hear God speak. Often I don’t give God a chance to talk to me. I’ve already made up my mind. I want to do what I want to do, not what God wants me to do. My heart is hardened, and I’m unwilling to listen.

When I have a closed mind, he’s not going to talk to me!

If I really want to hear from God, I need to understand what is keeping me from hearing from Him. I’m learning that there are three mental barriers that keep my mind closed to God’s message.

1. Pride. If I think I don’t need God in my life and I want to handle things myself, I’m probably not listening for God to speak. Pride keeps me from being open to the possibility that God might want to say something to me.

2. Fear. I may not be hearing God because I’m afraid to hear God speak. I may not want to do what he tells me.

3. Bitterness. When I hold on to hurt, resentment, or a grudge, I’m not going to be able to hear God, because my heart is hardened. It has grown cold and made me defensive, even to God’s love.

I need to get rid of the bitterness, fear, and pride that keep you from hearing God’s voice and living out his purpose for your life.

James 1:21 says, “Get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God
has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls” (NLT).

“Humbly accept” means I let go of my pride and stop trying to figure it out on my own. This is the key to opening my mind and heart so that I can hear from the Lord.

Bottom Line:
Get rid of the crud, and in humility accept God’s word. Allow it to be planted in your heart.

What this means to me:
I need to examine my life and rid it of the things that are filthy and evil. I need to humbly accept the word God is planting in my heart. For this has the power to save me.

As I reflect on this, I can see that I struggle with humility and really listening. I’ve been trying to take and live out what I hear, and while it does come through at times in my life, it’s not always the driving force. My own pride gets in the way. I can also relate to at times not really knowing what God has to say, because I may not want to do what is says. So, this morning Father I pray that you will help me in eliminating my pride and to be humble. Also remind me via the Holy Spirit to put into practice what I’m studying and learning.