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Life's big questions:

How do I know if God is speaking to me?

Listening can make life so much better

HAVE you ever been having a con­versation with someone and suddenly realised that you have stopped really listening to them? It dawns on you that you no longer have a clue what they’re talking about.

Or perhaps you’ve experienced the situation from the other side, and you’ve been frustrated because the person you’re speaking to just doesn’t seem to be paying attention.

The art of listening is a skill that can take time and effort to develop. But if we are able to master it, it can make life so much better – and often easier.

Learning to listen to God can take practice too.

Taking time to be quiet, thinking about who God is and reading the Bible all help to focus our mind. And the more we do those things, the easier it becomes to dis­cern God’s guidance. But how do we dis­tinguish God’s voice from all the others clamouring for our attention?

People who have been close for a long time are often adept at reading each other’s mind. They know what the other is think­ing before they speak. Similarly, the more we are in conversation with God, the more quickly we will be able to distin­guish his leadings from other people’s.

The Bible contains many stories about God’s guidance. Take Noah, for example, who built his ark at God’s prompting (see Genesis 6:9 to 9:17); Abraham, who was 75 when God told him to up sticks and go to a new land (see Genesis 12:1–4); Moses, who was minding his father-in-law’s sheep when God revealed his plan that he should lead his fellow Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt (see Exodus 3 to 14); and Saul, who was travelling on the road to Damascus to persecute the followers of Jesus when God brought about a dramatic change in him (see Acts 9:1–18).

God speaks to us in many ways. It may be through our reason and conscience, or our emotions of pity and indignation for people living in oppressive and unjust cir­cumstances.

What might he have to say to us today? 

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