On social media these days, not a day passes that someone doesn’t post how they have received insight from God either through prayer or through reading the Bible. These revelations by others can sometimes send us reeling with feelings of unworthiness, inferiority, and even frustration. We feel unworthy because God hasn’t chosen to reveal something extra special only to us. We feel inferior because others appear to have received something we must not be important enough to have. And perhaps secretly, we feel frustration because we can’t or won’t admit even to ourselves that God hasn’t really communicated with us in a really long time. We become discouraged and depressed because EVERYONE ELSE appears to have their life pulled together and God is in the house rocking their spiritual lives. Can I get a hallelujah, amen?!
So what are we to do?
If you are like me, you decide to immerse yourself in acts of service or you pray harder or you begin to read copious amounts of scripture because you know that is what a spiritual person should do. After all, the more I do for God, the more He definitely will listen. This concept is unscriptural. We aren’t saved by works, people. We are saved by grace, through Jesus Christ alone.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9 New International Version
I’ve found, when our heavenly conduit falls silent, several reasons contribute to why we don’t hear from God. Although said many times, the truth is sin keeps us from hearing or feeling God’s direction in our lives. In the movie Serenity, when responding to the question of what his sin was, Captain Malcolm Reynolds responds “Ah Hell… I’m a fan of all seven.” I personally rather like pride, sloth, and hey – gluttony is not bad either. In fact by my actions at times, I shamefully show that I’m a fan of all seven of the deadly sins. But I know that repentance and confession are like Drano in the conduit pipe to God. We’ve got to remove all of the junk in order to obtain the guidance, direction, or insight we seek.
“So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to – the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy. No more lying, then! Each of you must tell the truth to the other believer, because we are all members together in the body of Christ. If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. Don’t give the Devil a chance. If you used to rob, you must stop robbing and start working, in order to earn an honest living for yourself and to be able to help the poor. Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. And do not make God’s Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God’s mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free. Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.” Ephesians 4:22-32 Good News Translation
Another barrier to being receptive to God’s urging is not listening. This barrier is the quickest to correct. Two words. Slow. Down. During prayer and scripture reading time, pause and take time to listen, just a minute won’t do. To approach God in that way is like a kid rushing home from school, throwing his backpack on the counter with a “Hi Mom!,” and then headed out the door to play. Mom is left dazed and wondering about the day. God wants some time with us. An occasional order at God’s fast food counter is okay, but He really wants you to have a home cooked meal of time with Him.
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9 New International Version
The last and maybe my favorite of why we don’t hear from God is because He Already Told Us And We Aren’t Doing It. Always the perfect parent who gives a direction once and expects it to be carried out, God tells us what to do. Period. And He expects us to do it. We can’t still continue wondering about what to do or whining for Him to answer. The proverbial neon sign rarely appears blinking with the instructions previously given. God, in His grace and mercy, might tenderly remind us once or twice but after that silence often comes. He already told you. So, after you have double checked the first two barriers, consider the third. Did God already give you a direction? Are you stalling? Wallowing? Do the thing He last told you to do until you have direction for the next.