Most of the time we’re waiting to speak when someone else is talking. Sometimes we get so excited about a thought in our head that we just blurt it out while the other person is in mid-sentence. I know. I do it. It’s hard to truly listen.
I’ve bee learning about listening as I’ve been learning guitar. If you’re a regular reader, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the F chord for years. I’ve been trying to learn how to play the guitar since 2007. I took lessons for a while, stopped, and since January have been taking lessons at an awesome guitar shop called Firehouse Guitar. Cool people there. Check them out.
As I’ve been learning how to play, I’ve started to pick up where I’m messing up. It’s weird. The more I learn to play, the more I learn to listen to what I’m playing. And then the more I learn how I need to correct myself and my technique. But I need to listen. Truly listen to what I’m doing.
When I’m listening, I’m starting to realize where I’m muting certain strings when I play a G chord. Or when I’m strumming along, I realize I’m playing a C chord or D chord wrong. I started learning how to play through plucking and I learned even more how I need to adjust my fingers so that strings can ring out properly the right tune. By listening to my guitar, I’ve learned how to correct myself. By listening to my guitar, I’ve learned when I need to adjust my fingers or go back and restart from where I slipped up.
Not just that, but my teacher has started to introduce variations of certain chords like Em7 and Em6. There’s a slight difference to them, but if you listen just right, you can hear it and it makes a difference. Yes, you can just play an Em, but in Tom Petty’s Into the Great Wide Open, you can hear it.
Where am I going with all this?
It has to do with listening to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity (and that within itself is a whole ‘nother blog post or 30…I mean people have written whole books on this topic and it’s still hard to explain). The Holy Spirit is fully God as God the Father and God the Son. Three in one (that’s the best I can do with so few words, sorry). And the Holy Spirit, He (note He) is the presence of Jesus here and now. He is the moevment of God here and now. He directs us, leads us, moves us, and dwells within us. And as a follower of Jesus, you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Awesome stuff to say the least.
The Holy Spirit isn’t impersonal. He isn’t like the Force from Star Wars or some karmatic cosmic force that moves around righting our wrongs. He speaks to us. He directs us. And we are to listen to Him.
That’s the point. We need to listen to Him. Too many times when we come to God with our wants and needs, we just talk and talk and talk and talk and talk. We don’t listen. We just blurt things out. Now, it’s important to talk to God. That’s what prayer is for. Prayer is also for listening to God. And that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in.
He speaks to us.
It’s that pull on the heart string or the burden on the soul. It’s that voice that won’t shut up in the back of our head telling us not to do that thing we’re doing which we know is wrong. It’s not a conscience, it’s the Holy Spirit convicting us. But we need to learn how to listen.
Just like listening to the strings of my guitar, I need to listen quietly and intently to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Because He speaks. But if we’re not used to hearing Him speak, we don’t know what to listen for. It takes practice. Just like learning how to play guitar takes practice, learning how to listen to the Holy Spirit takes practice.
Lot’s of it.
It involves being still. It involves paying attention to things that happen. It involves studying Scripture. It involves prayer. And when we learn to listen, we can hear His voice directing us through those pulls on the heart strings, through the heaviness of the soul. But we need to listen.
How can you listen for the Holy Spirit today? How can you pay attention to His voice? Take time and truly listen.