Are You Listening?

 In Preaching & Teaching, Tori Smith

Communication, it’s such a hard thing to grasp. It’s hard to get it right when it’s between two humans of the same country and state who speak the same language and have similar experiences and back grounds. How much harder is it then when the communication is between different entities? 

My neighbor has a very small little dog with a very gentle little bark. I can hear him when I don’t have the TV on or when the dishwasher, washer/dryer, furnace, or AC isn’t running. But even when those things aren’t running, his little bark is very easy to ignore or tune out.  He barks when his human leaves or sometimes at their cat, or at other random times. It really doesn’t bother me at all.  I bring it up because his human doesn’t know how to interpret his little bark. On Christmas day I discovered that the problem was a lack of understanding, it was a lack of communication between the two of them. They were over for Christmas dinner, and I invited the little guy to come along and have turkey with us. When we were all done, he decided to go to the kitchen and start barking. Which upset his human because she didn’t know why he was doing that, and he had no interest in stopping. He knew what he wanted and was intent on getting it. Of course, I got tickled because I knew exactly what he was telling her. “Come to the kitchen and get me more turkey!”  Even though his human had had him since a pup (13 years) she had never learned what he was trying to tell her in his barks. Now before you think anything negative about her not understanding his barks, the question that ran through my mind was, “How often do I have a similar problem in my communication with the Lord?” 

Holy Spirit is always speaking to us. John 16: 12-15 states: “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that He will receive what He will make known to you.  All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what He will make known to you.”

Holy Spirit is always speaking to us. He is always trying to tell us what He is hearing, what is yet to come, what the Father is wanting to do in our lives, the plans He has for His church in this time. Sometimes, He is trying to communicate to us the very basics of the love our God has for us, the extent that Jesus went to, so that we could enter into a relationship with our God. The problem is, we haven’t learned to listen, to understand what He is telling us. We have spent years being in the family of God without getting the communication skills needed to effectively communicate with the Lord. 

Those effective communication skills only come when we are determined to spend time in His presence really paying attention to Him. I am not in any way comparing our God to our pets. But just as we get to know what our pets are saying to us by paying attention to them, we only begin to hear and understand what Holy Spirit is speaking by taking the time to pay attention to Him. That means spending time with Him. 

It all comes back to that doesn’t it? A life well spent with our God only comes when we routinely set aside time to be with the Lord through worship, prayer and scripture reading. We must make choices to ensure that that time happens.  It won’t happen on its own or when we don’t prioritize that time because often when we sit down to be with Him, a hundred other things come to mind, or we just have a general feeling of I don’t want to right now. And so, we get up and leave His presence. But if we are going to overcome the communication barrier that we have that is between us and our God, we must spend the time paying attention to Him. So how well do you know what Holy Spirit is saying to you? He is always speaking.  Are you understanding?


By the way, we got the little guy a little bit more turkey and he was quiet and happy the rest of the time they were here. 

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