This week we looked at the life of Mary and her relationship with Jesus to better understand who Jesus is and what a life of faithful obedience looks like. Mary knew Jesus, and here’s what we learn from her:
How then do we live?
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
We need to know God’s Word to believe God’s Word. We need to know Jesus to know his character. We need to know the voice of the Spirit to recognize the voice of the Spirit. We know God through Scripture, God’s Word to us. We know God through our experiences aligning with what we know of God and the experiences of others that align with God’s Word. We recognize the voice of God through these things as well as the peace we receive from the Holy Spirit.
Mary knew God and surrendered in humble confidence, trusting God would do what he said.
In the unknowns of life, we often grasp for what is known. We look to find anything we can have power over, control the outcome of, or keep us steady. Yet Jesus’s invitation in the unknowns is to trust him and surrender to him. It is a posture of releasing rather than grabbing, a posture of receiving rather than making things happen.This is the posture that Mary took, and she took it as she believed the words of the angel. She took it because she knew the heart of God. She took it because she knew God was faithful and true.
Mary was able to listen and surrender because she knew the voice of God and trusted it. To know God’s voice, we have to hear it often! This repetition of listening embeds our minds with truth.
One spiritual practice that includes surrender and listening is listening to Scripture. As we listen, we choose surrender. We are not in charge of the pace of the speaker, the words spoken, or the leading of the Holy Spirit. As we listen, we learn the sound of God’s voice. The steps below are to help you begin this practice of listening to Scripture.
- Download a Scripture listening app. You can use bible.com or the Dwell app.
- Set aside 10 minutes of completely undistracted time. (If you would like, you can do this practice with larger portions of Scriptures, setting aside 30 minutes of undistracted time and listening to three-four chapters at a time.)
- Sit in a posture that is still and focused on listening.
- Have a notepad or journal ready to jot down a quick note or mark a spot that piqued your interest or was curious to you. When listening, resist the temptation to analyze what you hear.
- A great place to start: Beginning with Chapter 1, listen to one chapter of one of the Gospels.
- After listening, go back over the things that stood out, that piqued your interest. Take these things to God in prayer, asking God to deepen and repeat whatever he wants to as you continue to listen in life and in the Scripture in the days that follow.
- Daily continue this pattern of listening through the entire book of the Bible
Remember, the outcome of this time is up to the Holy Spirit. You do not have to prove or show anything from this time. Let this practice of listening and surrender build up a humble posture in you, and one where you will learn the voice of the Spirit not only when you listen to the Scripture, but throughout the day.
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Excited to try these new ways to practice listening.
Just downloaded dwell. Interested to hear the word of God.
Listening and surrender…I am making this a new part of my day and my time with God in his word, listening to his voice. I am downloading Dwell and beginning today!
I love the idea of listening to Scripture without a deep study of the concepts. I get so caught up trying to cross-reference and find similar topics that I often forget what I am reading. Thank you for this simple, BUT BRILLIANT, idea.
So thankful for God’s provision of this study during this time.
I have been listening to the Word for several years now. Each year I listen to a different version. When I read I tend to skim, listening keeps me in line. This is my ninth time through and I grow more each and every time. I have to be careful that I don’t just go through the motions. His Spirit speaks through the Word.
The more time I spend in the word the better I know Jesus and God. I recognize his voice. I know his will. Cicumstances leading, God’s word confirming, peace following. I go through periods of listening. YOUVERSION has audible scripture readings. I used to carry around a cassette player and tapes or keep CDs in the car. Lately I was on a read and underline or color. Now I’m doing the digital reading. I’m a visual learner. What ever works as long as I am in his word.
Again, remembering I am not of myself, but Christ within me. I can and must be a light, encouraging others to seek my joy and peace.
THIS…….."Hope through the encouragement of the Scriptures" (Romans 12:1), made me question my source of encouragement . I pray that I remember the source of my hope, no matter the circumstance
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