A few years ago I was driving around Des Moines, IA. I was far enough out that the radio stations began to interfere with the FM transmitter I used to listen to my iPod in the rental car I was driving. I had to start scanning through the frequencies to find one that didn’t have a big city station transmitting on it so that I could tune in my def jams (like Mozart). As I was doing so, this great picture popped into my head. It had to be from the Lord. It went something like this. “If you want to hear from me, you have to be turned on and tuned in.”
I’m totally aware that God can speak to anyone at any time whether they want to hear from Him or not. At the same time, many Christians want to regularly hear from the Lord, to have that communion with Him, but they don’t know how. This is supposed to be a relationship afterall. A big part of relationship is two-way communication. Are there things in our lives that keep us from hearing from God? If so, what can we do about them? In the words of Bill Nye the Science guy, consider the following.
In order for a radio to clearly receive a transmission from a radio station several things have to be going on. First off, the radio has to be turned on. I know, duh. But then, it isn’t a “duh.” Many Christians don’t even realize that they can or are supposed to hear from the Lord. I should clarify that when I say “Hear from the Lord” I don’t mean have some kind of vision or receive some kind of special revelation (although those things can happen). What I mean is, many Christians don’t realize that that can, that they are supposed to, hear from the Lord. Words of encouragement, words of direction, feeling God’s love for them, feeling or experiencing the sensation of being in the presence of God. While God is not limited to being in one place at one time, you and I can can feel, can sense whether or not we are in His presence. We are supposed to, and often I think. So first, we have to be turned on. We have to be aware that we can and we should hear from Him.
Second, we need to be tuned in to the right frequency or station. If you want to hear something on 91.1FM and you are listening to 88.3FM, you aren’t going to hear what you want to hear. On the dial there is only one 91.1. Everything else isn’t 91.1. Again, duh. but then, not so much of a “duh”. We are hearing from a variety of people that you can hear from God via easter meditation, from yogis (no, not the bear), that God is in everything and is everything, on and on it goes. There are all kinds of other stations out there that claim you can hear from God through them. But there is only one 91.1. What is 91.1? Primarily it is God’s word, the Bible. We can tune in to God via His word and hear directly from Him. We can also hear from Him directly. In Acts 13 we read about the church praying and ministering to the Lord, and the Spirit spoke to them. “But how do I know if the Spirit is speaking to me?” Test it against what we do know is from Him; the word. We can tune in to the Lord via others who are tuned in to Him. Solid Bible teachers, other believers who spend time in the word, etc. First we have to be turned on, next we have to be tuned in and wanting to hear from Him.
Next we need to be close enough to the transmitter. You can be tuned in to the right station on your radio, but if you are too far away you aren’t going to hear it. If you want to hear something in Portland and you are in Boise, it won’t work. You have to be close enough to Portland to pick up the signal. Can a transmitter move? No. In the West Hills of Portland there are several huge, tall towers with TV and radio transmitters on them. I grew up across the Columbia River in Vancouver, WA and I could see Portland and the West Hills from my house. That view included those towers. They were always there. They never moved. They are still there. It’s the same way with the Lord. he doesn’t move. He is like a rock that cannot be moved. Even if you are turned on and tuned in, of you are distant from the Lord you won’t hear from Him. If you say you want the Lord in your life but you spend your time in the world, you won’t hear from Him. 1 John 2:15-17 says it nicely. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” If you are busy loving the world you won’t be loving the Lord. Stick close the God. James 4:8 tells us “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” So, we are turned on, tuned in, and in range of the transmitter. What else needs to happen to clearly hear the signal?
Lastly we need to eliminate interference. Have you ever been in your car listening to the radio (or your iPod through the radio) and then you cell phone rings? Did you hear a kind of buzzing or clicking when that happened? That’s interference. When I was a kid watching TV, whenever someone would use the blow dryer the picture would get all fuzzy and the sound would buzz. That’s interference. When other things produce signals that are strong enough to prevent you from hearing what it is you want to hear, that’s interference. Situations at work that tick us off can cause interference. Boyfriends/Girlfriends can cause interference. Hobbies can cause interference. You can be turned on, tuned in, in range, and other things can come up in our lives that temporarily prevent us from clearly hearing from the Lord. It’s up to us to shield ourselves from these things. If, one day, you were on fire the the Lord and the next got distracted by some new hottie at work, ditch the hottie and get back with the Lord. If you suddenly find yourself fired from your job (maybe the hottie was your boss?) and you are ticked at your boss, deal with the reality of being unemployed, but don’t let it interfere with your relationship with the Lord. It might be the only thing that keeps you going through such a thing.
Are you turned on? Are you tuned in? Are you in range? Is there as little interference as possible in your life? Then turn up the volume and pump up the jams! Listen for the Lord to speak. Test it against scripture and with other Godly people. Act on what it is you hear. As you do you will grow in this area. You will be getting closer and closer, the signal will get stronger and stronger, and you will be better able to tune in and hear from the Lord.