In the recent Olympic games, Eric Heiden amazed the world as he achieved what no other winter Olympic participant ever has -- five gold medals. During the 10,000-meter race, Heiden's coach had planned that he should complete the first 12 laps at a certain speed and the rest of the race at a different, faster speed. The man Eric was skating against was at one point 20 years ahead of him, and Heiden was tempted to try to catch up. But Eric's coach yelled to him from the sidelines, "Relax, skate your own race." He did, and he won with ease.
Are we tempted to let the world set our pace? Or are we turning to God to tell us which steps to take in our own lives? We have in God a "coach" infinitely intelligent. We need to listen to what He is telling us and to follow what He says, even if, at the moment, the world says something else.
During Bible days, as well as in our present age, spiritually-minded men and women have listened for God's directions. They have refused to bend to the world's pressures and have left splendid examples of the rewards of this kind of listening and following.
Think of the story of Noah, who built an ark where there was no sign of a flood. To te worldly minded, it must have appeared very foolish. But Noah "skated his own race," the one God mapped out. And he left a spiritual legacy for the world, showing the results of listening to God. n1
n1 See Genesis 6-9.
And how about Christ Jesus, who told his disciples to feed the multitude with five loaves and two fishes. The world would have told him, "Impossible!" But Jesus, listening to God, went forward. And the five thousand were fed. n2
n2 See John 6:1-13.
How does one listen to God in today's world? There are so many voices trying to make themselves heard -- television, radio, newspapers, movies.
The first step in this listening is to shut out worldly thoughts and open consiciousness to spiritual direction. The Bible tells of the invitation of the Christ, the divine message to mankind: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." n3 To hear and to be receptive -- these are the keys to listening for the divine voice.
n3 Revelation 3:20.
We can know if what we are hearing is from God. Are our thoughts filled with love, good will, justice, selflessness? If so, we can be quite certain God is communicating with us. It is comforting to know that the one voice that counts comes from God. Every time we are listening for clear direction on how to go, what to do, what to say, we can know that God will answer a pure desire.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, listened for God's direction before she took any steps. She writes this: "Two individuals, with all the goodness of generous natures, advise me. One says, Go this way; the other says, Take the opposite direction! Between the two I stand still; or, accepting the premonition of one of them, I follow his counsel, take a few steps , then halt. A true sense not unfamiliar has been awakened. I see the way now. The guardians of His presence go before me." n4
n4 Miscellaneous Writings,m p. 347.
As we listen for God's voice and are willing to follow His leading, He will guide us. The world will not lay out our path. God will! DAILY BIBLE VERSE O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:18