Listening to God
How do we effectively communicate with God in a busy Fire Service?
Author – Craig Duck President/Missionary FCFInternational
Effective communication on the fireground is essential for success. With all of the noise that is associated with the emergency scenes we are dispatched to, it is amazing that anything at all is understood. Yet somehow, firefighters are able to take messages from the incident commander and without hesitation carry out those orders in order to stop the chaos from continuing.
Can you imagine if every firefighter were to listen to God when He speaks to us and then just as quickly obey His voice? Sadly, many firefighters do not even understand how to effectively communicate with God and listen to His response.
In order to have a vibrant relationship with God we need to thoroughly understand the following:
- How does God communicate?
- In the past
God freely spoke with Adam and Eve in the garden using an audible voice (Genesis 1:28-30). He also spoke with Noah before the flood and Moses in a burning bush as well as others in the Old Testament era. This does not mean that firefighters today will hear an audible voice from God.
Make no mistake about it; God can do anything He desires and if He wanted to He could still talk directly to us. Since the completion of the Bible, however, God has chosen not to use an audible voice when speaking directly to His people. In fact, believers should take notice and avoid people who say that they have directly spoken with God and He has told them what to do.
God uses the Bible as the primary means to communicate with His people.
- In the present
God has created each one of us in a unique way. Look at your own local fire department. There are many different types of people who serve there, each with various types of gifts and talents that they bring to the company. Fast ones and slow ones, caring ones and tough ones come to the station with the same purpose and desire of serving their community.
How do firefighters communicate with God?
Firefighters communicate with God through prayer. Because of the completed work of Jesus Christ we have direct access to the Father.
- “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Since God has created each firefighter in a special way, how we listen to His still small voice can very.
How does God communicate with firefighters today?
- Through the Bible – The Bible is the inspired word of God, written by men as they led by the Spirit. Every word and every concept was directed by God and is profitable for today’s firefighters. II Timothy 3:16
- Through nature and creation – Romans 1:20
- Through a Still Small Voice – John 16:12-14 (Note – When we rely on our inner promptings, we have to acknowledge that it may be self-led and not Spirit-led. Firefighters need to ensure that the still small voice is what God is trying to tell us and not what we want to hear.)
- Through Other Believers – James 3:17 (Note – other believers may have the best intentions but their wisdom is not infallible.)
Christian firefighters today can still listen to God and choose to obediently serve Him. While we may not hear an audible voice from God we can be assured that He still desires to hear from us and speak to us. God wants to have a vibrant intimate relationship with His people.
Today God speaks to us through the written word (the Bible), His Son Jesus Christ, through His Spirit, through nature and creation and through Godly friends and firefighters.
We can’t say enough about the Bible and how God uses it in order to communicate to His people. If you are not actively reading and studying the Bible you will not accurately hear from God. Enough said!!
- In the future
Believers in Jesus Christ look forward to a day when we see God face to face and worship Him in a place called heaven. The book of Revelation shows us a glimpse of what heaven will be like and how we will eternally show our gratitude to a loving God who has provided eternal life through the completed work of Jesus Christ.
Fellowship will once again be restored between God’s people and God, similar to that in the Garden of Eden.
Now that we know how to communicate with God, is there anything that can hinder our communication with God?
Most departments across the United States provide a portable radio in order to communicate with the group/division leader or the incident commander. There are times during the incident when a firefighter or officer attempts to transmit a message and the message is not heard. This can happen when the portable radio is out of range, some other person is transmitting a message which results in a honking noise or the radios battery is dead.
Fortunately, God can handle more than one message at the same time and His system will never become defective or out of range.
So why does it seem like there are times when our prayers do not get answered and our communication with God feels like it is ineffective? The reasons can be as varied as the way in which individual departments extinguish fires. Simply stated the reason lies not with God but with our own individual lives and the choices we make.
Reasons why our prayers are hindered:
- Selfish motives – James 4:3 “You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires (HCS).”
- Turning away from scripture – Proverbs 28:9 “If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable (NIV).
- Family discord – I Peter 3:7 “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered (NKJV).”
- Unconfessed sin – Psalm 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear (NKJV).
- Doubt – James 1:5-7
When you feel like God is not answering your prayers, check to see if one of these reasons might apply to you. Then quickly confess those sins to God and develop a plan of attack on how to change your life.
God desires to hear from His children. Make no mistake about it; the problem is not typically on God’s end but ours. We find all sorts of excuses for not regularly communicating with the creator of the universe and the rescuer of our souls.
If you want to glorify God in the fire service you have to communicate with God!!