One of the greatest challenges for any parent is trying to communicate with a child. With young children, there are times when you have to sit them down, make sure they have steady eye contact, and then slowly speak your points. After that, you may ask the question, “Do you understand what I am saying?” The parent can only hope the message has gotten through. (Of course, some children have the same concern with their parents!)
One of the ways we can hear from God is through the voice of another person. As we continue the ||40days|| journey through Lent with attention to listening for God, we look today at what it means to hear God in another person. Even as God speaks primarily through Scripture, what does it mean to hear from Him in another person. Let me suggest seven things to consider when evaluating whether a person is worth listening to as a representative of God, whether at a personal or corporate level:
- God speaks through people who love God’s words (2 Timothy 2:14-3:10). When Paul offers instruction to the young pastor, Timothy, he calls him to hold to the truth in contrast to those who lose focus through godless chatter and a departure from the truth.
- God speaks through people who bring His truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). What we hear from others is not God’s word if it is devoid of biblical truth or biblical love. If those elements are there, however, we do well to listen for God in another person’s words.
- God speaks through people who help us develop and grow (Proverbs 27:17). We read in Proverbs these words: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” If God is speaking to us through someone, we can be sure that it will help us become ‘sharper’ for God.
- God speaks through people whose lives reflect their words (Hebrews 13:7). It is not simply knowing fine words, but a life with a godly outcome that makes a person worth listening to. We should listen for God in the lives of people who live in His ways.
- God speaks through people who are not afraid to offer a hard word to us (Matthew 16:23; Luke 22:31-32; John 6:60). More than once, Jesus spoke directly to people with difficult words about their life. Always, these words were spoken with their good in mind, but it did not take some of the sting of the words away.
- God speaks through people who exhibit humility (Ephesians 6:19-22). Paul lifts up the example of Tychicus at the end of Ephesians as one who is ready to serve for the good of the church. Paul does this while humbly requesting prayer from the church. These men are examples to all of us about the sort of humility resident in those whom God is speaking through.
- God speaks through people who seek God’s glory rather than their own (John 7:16-19). Jesus was concerned not with impressing people or with gaining glory for Himself. No, Jesus’ primary concern was to speak what He heard from the Father so that the Father might be glorified. God continues to speak through people like that.
In the midst of our journey with Jesus, we must give our attention to the voice of the Lord. At times, the people speak God’s words into our lives. We must be willing to listen, but must also be discerning.
Consider this: who in your life is a trustworthy voice helping you hear the words of God?