Being able to recognize when God is trying to get your attention is absolutely essential for living a powerful missional life. It was Philip who recognized when God was trying to get his attention to send him out to a desert road to share the Gospel with an Ethiopian and it was the Apostle Paul, in a dream, who recognized God getting his attention and then went to share the Gospel to the people in Macedonia. The Bible is replete with examples of God's people being sensitive to His call and responding.
How can you live a powerful missional life if you are unable to recognize when God is trying to get your attention? You won't! It is impossible! Living a missional life and sensing God's direction go hand in hand!
The following a just 5 ways that God uses to grab your attention but there are others as well. The point to remember is for you to be "LOOKING" and "LISTENING" for God's call and direction!
4 Ways That God Get's Our Attention
I. Through A Restless Spirit
"That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to to assassinate King Xerxes." Esther 6:1-2
Through this story we learn how God sometimes will create in a person a restlessness that may not allow them to sleep. In this case it was with King Xerxes. God was going to save the life of Mordecai from a plot to kill him and he did so by not allowing the King to sleep, so that he would ask have the chronicles of his kingdom to be read to him.
I am sure the king felt that having these boring records read would help him fall asleep. However, God had other plans for it was in these records that the king learned about how Mordecai was responsible for saving his own life but had never been rewarded for it. As a result the king blessed Mordecai and had his life spared.
How often have you had restless nights?
- Could it be that God is trying to get your attention?
- Could it be that God is trying to say something to you?
- Could it be that there is a work that God is wanting you to do and trying to tell you what it is?
II. Through Other People
In 2 Samuel chapter 12 God sent the prophet Nathan to King David to confront him on his sin of adultery and murder.
We all know the story of King David and Bathsheba! How he lusted after her, a married woman, slept with her while her husband was off fighting at war and how she became pregnant with his baby.
We all know of how King David tried to cover the whole thing up and eventually had Bathsheba's husband killed. We all know how David felt he had completely covered up his sins and thought he was off the hook.
But God had a prophet by the name of Nathan that he sent to King David to tell him of his sin. Nathan uses a story of an injustice and asks the king what should be done with the one who committed the injustice. King David rightly ruled. Then Nathan the prophet revealed,
"Your Are That Man!"
How many times have we sinned, covered them up and felt we have gotten away with it? How many times have we lied, cheated and stolen in order to cover up our sins?
No matter how many people we can fool - no on can fool God! None of us can lie to God? God knows all and sees all! And God has people He uses to reveal our sins to us when we try to cover them up and forget about them.
God doesn't want you to hide your sins but to confess them and repent from them. God wants to forgive us from our sin - not to ignore it as if it never happened. By God's nature he must deal with sin and punish it! God will not turn a bind eye to sin.
Many times God will use people to come to us for the purpose of revealing our sins and to remind us that God hasn't been fooled and that we need to deal with our sins in a Godly manner.
Just as King David responded in an appropriate manner when the Prophet Nathan revealed his sin - we too must respond with the same kind of broken and contrite heart and ask for God's forgiveness.
III. Through His Blessings
" ... do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" Romans 2:4
Have you ever thought that maybe the reason why God is blessing you, being kind to you, been tolerant and patient of you with your sins is because He is trying to get your attention to repent?
You should because that is exactly what God is saying to us here in Romans. Through His blessings God is trying to tell you that he loves you, care for you and is willing to forgive you! He is trying to let you know that it is not His desire to punish you but to forgive you!
But too often we confuse God's blessings as a sign that He is indifferent to our sinful ways! God is not indifferent to sin - He is going to punish sin and all sinners! Instead, of assessing God's blessings as approval of your sinful life you should consider yourself fortunate. Use His blessings as an alarm that is going off reminding you it's time to get up and turn from your wicked ways!
IV. Through Unanswered Prayers
Reasons Why Some Prayers Are Not Answered
- We Pray With The Wrong Motives: James 4:3
- We've Been Disobedient: 1 John 3:21,22
- Our Prayers Are Not According To God's Will: 1 John 5:14
- We've Been Insensitive To Our Marriage Partner: 1 Peter 3:7
- So We Can Understand God's Nature Better: 2 Cor. 12:7
Could it be that when God doesn't answer our prayers He is trying to get our attention that our motives are wrong for asking such things; that He is trying to tell us that we've been disobedient to Him; that He is wanting us to know that what we seek is not according to His will; that we've been insensitive to our wives or maybe God is trying to reveal a part of His nature to us; to understand that His grace is sufficient.
Many times unanswered prayers are simply His way of trying to get our attention.
Remember to live powerful missional lives you must be attentive to the times when God is trying to get your attention. Don't ignore it - respond to it. Like Samuel who was told by Eli when sense God trying to get your attention respond with, "Here I am Lord! Your servant listens!"