Tuesday, May 10

Dialing Down the Noise

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us. --Hebrews 12:1

For the last several days my husband and I have been a one-car family. To help us overcome the commute challenge this presents, my mom has been kind enough to let me borrow hers until we've established automotive equilibrium. It's a nice big powerful machine with quite a bit of "oomph", but it's radio reception is pretty poor because of a badly damaged antenna. Normally I try to sit in the car during my lunch break so I can listen to a portion of Dr. Laura's program on KFI while I eat. This has become quite interesting as I've attempted to overcome the static interference that results from not having an adequate antenna. I've found that if I park away from tall buildings, stay away from the lee side of a hill, and turn the volume knob up considerably, I can hear Dr. Laura's voice coming from behind all the excess noise.

As I was perfecting this "radio stance", I thought about how communication with God is not unlike trying to tune in to a radio broadcast. There are times when we feel that we aren't hearing much from God or that He is "off air". Instead of making the effort to put ourselves in places and situations where we can be more fully exposed to the incoming signal, we give up. We turn off our hearts because we think that if God really wanted to communicate with us He'd find a very obvious way to do so.

One of the reasons we have trouble hearing God isn't because He isn't loud enough or isn't saying anything. I recently looked up the word "voice" in a Bible index and nearly every reference I found about God's voice was about how powerful it is. So powerful in fact, that the earth trembles and the sea gives way. God's voice is a force to be reckoned with, and not just a hinted whisper that often goes undetected. If communication with God is a problem, it's not because He isn't putting out a powerful enough signal. The problem lies with us and our reception. We often fail to recognize his voice because we are distracted by varying forms of interference.

In the spiritual world we will come up against interference on a regular basis. Every proactive attempt we make to connect with God elicits a counter-measure from our enemy. In order to keep us from experiencing closeness and intimacy with God, the enemy will put many distractions in our paths. He will try to get us to think we're too busy to pray or go to church. He'll make us feel like God wants nothing to do with us because of our imperfections and shortcomings. The enemy would like us to believe that the problems we have in life are because God is angry and displeased with us and is therefore punishing us. All of those thoughts are destructive interference--spiritual static that keeps us from communicating on a deep and personal level with God.

In order to dial down the noise and zero in on God's voice, we need to position ourselves carefully. It is important to keep away from anything or anyone that could make it difficult to live in a manner that is pleasing to God. For some people, this may mean eliminating certain behaviors. For others it may require a re-evaluation of particular friendships. Once the distractions are minimized, tuning in to God's voice involves surrounding ourselves with the kind of people who already recognize Him. Dialing down the noise and cutting out the spiritual static means we also should invest in a strong spiritual antenna. The Bible is an excellent way for us to spend time reading God's words and learning about what He has to say to us personally.

There may be times when we find it very difficult to hear God's voice, but the better we become at eliminating the worldly interference, the better we get at hearing Him clearly in every situation. Communication with God is not about just sitting back and waiting for Him to shout to us from the heavens. We need to put ourselves in positions where we are not entangled by sin but instead are well equipped to receive His words.

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