Hearing from Jesus Step by Step
By Peter Amsterdam
One of the things Jesus wants to teach us—and it’s one of the most valuable things we can ever learn—is to consult Him in our decision-making. He wants us to hear from Him directly and personally, and then to act on what He shows us. That goes for big matters and everyday matters alike. He wants us to bring specific questions to Him so He can give us specific answers.
Hearing from Jesus and involving Him in our daily lives is something that can radically change things for the better. If we can learn to stop whatever we’re doing, bring our questions to the Lord, and listen to His instructions, that will solve many problems because we will find the answers we need.
If you haven’t learned to let Jesus speak to you, ask Him to teach you. He wants to and He will. It’s a gift that is yours for the asking. Then once He has given you the gift, you need to learn to put it to good use. That takes practice. You do that by giving Him many opportunities to speak to you.
I have learned that even after Jesus has initially shown me the way to go about doing something, He wants me to ask Him from time to time if I’m still proceeding in the right direction. He wants me to keep the channel open so He can speak to me in case He has some new information or new direction.
It’s not enough to pray at the beginning of a project, “Jesus, help me with this,” and then just go and do it. Unless you stop from time to time and ask Him if there is anything else He wants to tell you about that project and how to go about it, you can miss much of His help.
You need to keep checking back with Him, because sometimes He may want to adjust the course. It’s like you’re the helmsman of a ship, and Jesus is the captain. You head out to sea, and you know the general direction you’re supposed to go. If your destination is due west, you start going west. But then after a while the ship may have been carried off course by currents or a storm, so the captain, Jesus, who knows exactly where you are at all times, may tell you that you need to adjust your course to head a little northwest or a little southwest. But if you don’t check your present course with the captain, if you don’t open the channel for Jesus to speak to you and tell you the course modifications, you either won’t end up where He wants you to go or you will take a roundabout way to get there.
To receive Jesus’ instructions, you have to be open—you have to truly want to hear and be willing to follow what He tells you. The most important requirements for hearing from Jesus are
(1) sincerely wanting to find and do what He knows will be best for everyone concerned,
(2) asking Jesus to help you distinguish between His voice and your own thoughts,
(3) believing the divine instruction that has already been given you, as recorded in the Bible, and following it to the best of your knowledge and ability,
(4) believing that the message you receive directly from Him is from Him, and
(5) having the faith to act on it.
This isn’t something you can learn overnight, especially if you aren’t already in the habit of taking your problems and questions to Jesus in prayer. It takes practice and discipline, but don’t let that discourage you. Start with a few small steps—baby steps if you will. Then as you learn to hear from Him step by step, you will save time, things will go more quickly and smoothly, you will make fewer mistakes, and more will get done.
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Learning from God
We can go through life and miss many of the things that God is trying to teach us. Some things are obvious, but others aren’t, and we can miss the point if we don’t ask Him or don’t open our eyes to what He’s trying to show us through our experiences.
The more we pray about things beforehand, the more He is able to help us and the better things will turn out. But it’s just as important to pray about the outcome, especially when things don’t go the way we expect or want them to. If we take time to think and pray about it, He can help us learn from every experience. The lesson is there if we will ask for it, but by the same token, if we don’t ask, a lot of times we don’t receive. (Matthew 7:7; James 4:2)
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