Why Don’t We Listen To God?

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Purpose & Identity

“Why didn’t you listen to me when I told you to stop eating sugar the first time back in 1977?” God asked me the other day. I had been thinking about Romans 11:33-36 and when He asked me that question, I saw three reasons why I didn’t and they all come from that passage of Scripture.

Here’s what He showed me. “You didn’t listen to Me because you felt I was too difficult to understand. You didn’t listen to Me because you didn’t think I cared about you, really knew you or really wanted the best for you. You didn’t listen to Me because you felt like you knew better than Me.”

These hit me hard but they may be some of the reasons you don’t listen to God as well.

God Is Too Difficult to Understand

Romans 11:33 (NLT) says, “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways.” Even Paul didn’t understand everything about God.

I didn’t have a good idea of who He really was. Even though I had been thoroughly educated about who He was and had been working at a denominational headquarters, I wanted to know the mystery that is God.

Most of us think of God as just a bigger version of ourselves, only with more abilities and powers. We think of Him like the greatest superhero but God is much more than that. Romans 11:33 talks about two main things: The riches of God and the depth of His wisdom and knowledge about us.

What Are God’s Riches?

My husband and I have a deed for our house and the land it is built on. We own this land but that’s really not true biblically. Deuteronomy 10:14 (NLT) tells us God owns the earth and everything in it. It all belongs to Him.

It’s not that He will turn what He owns into billions of dollars. Dollars don’t matter to Him because God is not a person. God owns everything and, as a result, so do we because we are joint-heirs with Christ of God’s glory.

God is also rich in grace. Ephesians 1:7 (TPT) tells us, “Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by His blood—the total cancellation of our sins—all because of the cascading riches of His grace.”

What could be more valuable to us than being declared not guilty of the wrongs we’ve done against God and being able to come to Him through the blood of Jesus? He pours His grace on us so that as His children we become walking examples of what happens when people listen to and follow God. We are His trophies of grace.

God Is Smart and Wise

I know some smart and wise people but none with wisdom and knowledge as deep as God’s. This is why it is so difficult for us to really understand God. He is a mystery to us. “The wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God — His plan that was previously hidden … No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us,” (1 Cor. 2:7, 11-12, NLT).

God’s wisdom and knowledge is so deep, it is a mystery but to those of us who have accepted Christ, if we allow Him to, the Holy Spirit will guide us in understanding the truths of God.

God is still bigger than I can imagine but He wouldn’t be God if He wasn’t and I couldn’t trust Him if He was powerless.

God Doesn’t Know Me

Even though Romans 11:36 (NLT) directly says that everything comes from God and “exists by His power and is intended for His glory,” I still didn’t think that God knew the real me. I didn’t listen to God because I didn’t really think God cared about me, really knew me or really wanted the best for me. It was a fear that resided deep within me.

I asked God where that fear came from and He showed me a time in my childhood when I felt like I had no option but to do hard things I didn’t know how to do. In prayer, I forgave those involved and then renounced the lie that Father God expected me to do hard things. Then, I asked Him, “What is Your truth?”

He told me, “I placed my Holy Spirit in You when you were seven and He is the One who brought you through your childhood doing hard things. You grew to be a leader because I taught you how to lead. Holy Spirit is always and has always been your teacher. I love you and am always watching over you. You are my shining daughter in whom I can trust to do my bidding.”

Then God reminded me of Psalm 139:5-6 (TPT) and that sealed the deal. “You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness You follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. You have laid Your hand on me! This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.”

Does God know me, see me and care about me? Yes, beyond a shadow of a doubt!

I Know Better Than God

It’s crazy that I thought I knew what would help me better than God did. I knew what I wanted and it seemed like He couldn’t see things my way.

Ever seen yourself in Scripture? Romans 11:34 (TPT) is talking about me. “For who has discovered how the Lord thinks or is wise enough to be the one to advise Him in His plans?”

I was telling God what to do because I thought I knew better than He did what would work best for me. He told me in 1977 to stop eating processed sugar but I didn’t listen to Him.

I thought I knew a better way; you know that one where I could lose weight and eat what I wanted at the same time? Of course, it doesn’t exist but I kept beating my head against that wall.

My Way or God’s Way?

I couldn’t figure out why my way wasn’t working and why God didn’t just wave His magic wand and fix me so I could eat sugar and lose weight too. It was because He was trying to show me that I loved sugar more than Him. I needed to surrender what I craved the most to God before I could ever move forward.

When I finally did that, Psalm 72:6 (TPT) became real in my life. “Your favor will fall like rain upon our surrendered lives, like showers reviving the earth.” I began to feel God’s divine anointing on my life in a real way. Surrendering fleshly desires to God must come before His anointing will fall on us.

God Is Extravagant

“Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.

“Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell Him what to do? Anyone who has done Him such a huge favor that God has to ask His advice?

“Everything comes from Him; Everything happens through Him; Everything ends up in Him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes,” (Rom. 11:33-26, MSG).

For more on this topic, check out Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast episode 100: Listen to God. Go here: https://TeresaShieldsParker.com/podcast. {eoa}

Teresa Shields Parker is the author of six books and two study guides, including her No. 1 bestseller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. Her sixth book, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds, is live on Amazon. She blogs at teresashieldsparker.com. She is also a Christian weight-loss coach (check out her coaching group at Overcomers Academy) and speaker. Don’t miss her podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, available on CPN.

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