Listen For God’s Direction

Jim Cymbala

When we spend time with God, we should want to do more than just present a list of requests — we need to listen for his voice! Someone once said, “What’s more important, us telling God our requests, which he already knows before we tell him, or us listening for his voice, to hear what is on his heart?”

I know some people don’t believe we can still hear God’s voice. “He has already said what he is going to say in the Bible.” They would argue that hearing from God is religious fanaticism or a form of scary emotionalism. But the history of the Christian church totally negates that belief. How else would people like British missionary Hudson Taylor — who, while spending time with the Lord, felt God put a call on his heart to go to China — have brought the gospel to unreached people in Asia? In fact, how would any missionary who has ever done something great for God have known to do it unless God had first communicated it to them? There is no verse in the Bible that says, “Go to Bangladesh!”

Although we all know that the Bible is complete and God does not speak to replace doctrine or communicate on the same level of Scripture, he does still speak. He might offer vital words of warning or convicting messages that have personal application. Sometimes it is a word of guidance — a direction we should move in. That kind of direction is heard only by a listening ear or a hearing heart.

One of my favorite passages is found in Isaiah. “The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed” (Isaiah 50:4, emphasis added).  

Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.