Recently I got back from a two-day retreat in Wyoming with a group of businessmen. It was fun to watch these guys come alive as they realized they didn’t have to put on their suits when they woke up; instead, they could pull up their boots and go to the shooting range, take a dirt bike, or check out the tanks and helicopters, which made this a man’s world.
During this time, I was speaking to one of the other guys about prayer. I told him, “I don’t hear God’s voice very clearly. I know some people do, but I rarely get clear, distinct direction from God.” He agreed, but then told me about a time when he did hear God, “as clear as day,” telling him to go work out. So that’s what he did.
A military man, he told me he knew God was telling him this because when he was in shape and taking care of himself physically, the rest of his life was much better — he was more energized, confident and joyful. It wasn’t as if God was telling him to go read more of the Bible; instead He was telling him there’s a balance in life — both of these things are needed. God knew how to help my friend be at his best, and part of that was engaging in what he’s passionate about. God doesn’t necessarily care if we get that jog in every day, but I think He cares about what He knows is our passion.
God doesn’t want us to stress out about spending time in His Word. He doesn’t want us to engage in a painful 10-minute study time. He’s a really good dad; He wants what’s best for us. Sometimes that means we’re worshipping Him while staring at the side of a mountain, waiting for the elk to wake up. I find a ton of time to reflect and pray while hunting. I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent praying while looking through the scope of a pair of binoculars. As I stay there and ask, “God, what do you have for me?” my eyes are wide open. Though I’m focused on the mission of the hunt, I’m getting intimate time to talk with the Father. A lot of truth has come out of these excursions.
How do we listen to God’s voice? How do we discern the internal battle that poses the question, “Is this from God or from the evil one?” Because the devil can also manipulate our thoughts, we need to stand guard. I’ll admit I get confused at times if I’m hearing the angel on the right shoulder or the devil on the left. I seem to always be actively trying to figure this out. I wonder if this will ever be crystal clear because we don’t belong here; we’re living in a world controlled by the devil. There are times when I’ll pray for certain things that don’t happen, and that’s OK because I know I’ll never understand the way God works. His mindset is so much greater than mine.
So I keep pushing. There’s nothing the devil wants more than for us to shut down and stop trying to understand God’s path. When we give up on listening and drift away, Satan is high-fiving. I, for one, refuse to let this happen. So I keep seeking Him.
I’ve never found a decision in front of me that I can’t find in the Bible. It may be more of a moral concept than a direct answer to my question, but the answer of right versus wrong is always in there. As we dig into the Word, God’s direction becomes more and more clear. As long as you keep God in the picture and remain on mission for you, He can use you to grow His Kingdom. And even when we do make the wrong decision — which I have done many times and I’m sure I will do again — God’s not sitting back at the fork in the road, waiting for us to figure it out. I believe, like a good Father, He’s right there with us, extended grace upon grace to us.
What are you doing to seek God’s voice?
— Adam LaRoche, former MLB player
Adam LaRoche is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Adam’s profile on The Increase: http://theincrease.com/author/adam-laroche/
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