How We’re Learning
By Muriel Gregory
“The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” John 10:3 ESV
I am a proud Navy brat. My dad served in the French Navy as a submariner. He was one of those crazy people who thought that it would be fun to live for 3 months in a “box” underneath the water. Since I am mildly claustrophobic, the sheer thought of it gives me a panic attack.
He finished his career on a nuclear submarine but started on a diesel submarine. He always laughingly said that there is nothing louder than a submarine diesel engine. I remember him sharing that his sleeping bunk was right on top of the engine. He had learned to sleep with the noise. It was the absence of that noise that would wake him up because it meant that something was wrong. I always found that amazing.
Even though I am not sure I could sleep next to a submarine’s engine, I have to admit that I have become accustomed to many other noises in my life. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, text messages, and instant notification of emails have drowned out God’s voice. They have lured me to a state of spiritual sleep.
Sadly, I am also showing signs of withdrawal when the social media noise is absent. Here are some of my symptoms; maybe you can relate:
- I have an urge to check my phone when there is nothing going on.
- A feeling of low self-esteem will pop up when I do not get any likes on my post.
- Panic sets in when I drive through a cellular dead zone.
Do any of those ring true with you?
And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13 ESV
To hear God, we need to get rid of the noises of this world. Do you first reach out to your Facebook friends for advice or do you go to the word of God? How often do you seek comfort in the likes you get from your Instagram post instead of the community of believers?
We get so used to those interferences that we no longer hear God’s voice. Then we wonder why we face recurring problems and can’t find the way out of difficult situations.
True freedom is found when we follow the shepherd. The only way to follow the shepherd is to hear his voice.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 ESV
Abundant life! Who would reject that? Is it achievable? I wholeheartedly believe it is!
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him” (John Piper). Abundant life starts when we tune out the world and tune in to God. The more we get used to social noises, the less they look like interferences and the more they become the norm.
My dad could sleep on top of a diesel engine because it was the norm for him. I would have had the worst night ever, but here I am spiritually asleep on top of Facebook notifications and tweets from celebrities.
How to Tune in to God and Be Free from Interferences:
- Discipline yourself
Discipline is not a word we enjoy, yet a necessity in our Christian walk. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we make the commitment to become His disciple. You cannot be a disciple without discipline.
- Choose a time and place
There are plenty of things you do every day without thinking about them. Brushing your teeth, taking a shower, drinking coffee. Those actions are built into your routine and you accomplish them without much thought. Your quiet time with God will become a routine when you pick a regular time and place for it. Be regular and you will soon see the fruits.
- Make it a priority
Choose God before you choose anything else. Open your Bible before picking up your phone. If it is not a priority, you will not stick with it.
Read these scriptures and write down how they speak to you regarding those steps:
Discipline yourself: Proverbs 12:1; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Titus 1:8
Choose a time and place: Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; Matthew 14:23
Make it a priority: Psalm 119:33-40; Psalm 119:112; Luke 12:15
Father, thank you for being a continuous presence in my life even when I am spiritually asleep. I commit my ways to You. I pray that I can tune out the interferences of this world so I can hear Your voice guiding me and letting me know that “this is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). Amen