I have had a sincere interest in interpersonal communication for many years. I have to admit, I get excited learning new concepts and practices regarding one-to-one communication.
When in graduate school, I remember one class I had on “Intimate Relationships” which really meant ongoing, close relationship, for example a spouse, a close friend, a very close parent or other family member.
The characteristics of “close” are length of time with the person and depth of sharing. If a person is in your life for a long period of time, you may indeed be close. If you have given that person a lot of personal, private information about yourself, that is, not known by any others, that draws a person close to you, especially if they hold that information about you and do not share it with others.
How does this relate to Hearing From God?
Maybe one of the best ways to explain God’s desires for communicating with man is to use terms that we can all understand as humans.
When communicating with another human who is very “close” to us, most people have a wedding ceremony that they can reference where the phrase in Mark 10 is used: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
These are very familiar words to anyone who has attended a Christian marriage ceremony.
But what do these familiar words have to do with Hearing God?
In my opinion, an ideal marriage is to know the other person so much that I can anticipate the other’s needs. That is the best communication between a man and a woman and it is much more than two people becoming one flesh.
Many of you know that I am blessed to be married to a good woman and we have been together for forty years. One would think that I would know her [and I do know her pretty well]. But she is changing all the time. She, like all humans, does not stay the same. We are all transitioning through life, growing and learning. We never stay the same. To know her is to be constantly updating information.
As her spouse, it is my job to know her and support her, love her as she is and treat her with respect. Cherish her for the person that she is. It is not my job to judge her, make her over to my image of how she should be. It is my job to know her to the point that I can anticipate her needs.
That last sentence in bold is what I told my male interpersonal communication students. I used to say this is such good advice that I should take up a collection for those words. They are that valuable.
I used to joke around in class with the males and tell them that the best thing they can do for their female loved one is to do something for her without being told.
Behind the joking is a solid truth.
Doing something for a loved one without being told is a wonderful thing. What you have done is anticipate their needs.
What have you done?
You have said to your loved one, I know you, I know what you want, I love you enough to give you what you want without having to be told.
Spouses and other loved ones love this and guess what…God loves it too.
You have told your significant other that they are number one in your life. You have told them that you are willing to be unselfish and you have put them first. You have told them that you know them.
I know men who have a very different attitude. I don’t pass out advice to these guys. I just listen and wonder.
I have a friend who has as his number one goal in life, getting out of doing what his spouse wants him to do. Oftentimes, he will provide falsehoods as reasons for his lack of work and cooperation. Then he will brag about it to his male friends.
I just wonder.
I have another friend who asserts himself by doing the opposite of what his wife wants and he is very upfront with her about it. I think this is a “power thing” as he tells her I can do exactly what I want and you are not the boss of me.
I just wonder.
As Dr. Willard says, anticipating God’s needs is a sign of deep relationship. God does not want to order us around. “He enjoys it when we understand and act upon His will.”
It is a sign that we really love Him.
It is a sign that we really know Him.
Maybe Dr. Willard’s words of advice should be heeded. Maybe we need to take up a collection for him. He is telling us how to facilitate communication with God.
How valuable is that advice?