"In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision. 'Ananias!' 'Yes Lord,' he answered." (Acts 9:10)
I am a complete sucker for seeing dog acts! I've exhibitions on television and I've seen trainers present live their dogs abilities. It is amazing to me see these animals do what we as humans have a heard time doing. Hearing, listening, and obeying. One of my favorite dogs that I've ever had the opportunity to see up close is Tina. Tina is a beautiful Golden Retriever and is an impeccable example of hearing, listening, and obeying.
In one of the "tricks" that Tina does involves strict obedience to her trainer's voice and to none other. The trainer picks a volunteer out of the crowd, usually a child with bursting exuberance. She leads the child over to a laying down, relaxed looking Tina. Tina has been given instruction to lie still and to not move. Her trainer then tells the child to, without touching Tina, do whatever they can to get her to get up and move. The child speaks, shouts, and shouts even louder. Then they begin to hop around, jump around, and wave their arms all around. All the while, Tina lays still, content, and obedient. After the volunteer has exhausted their tactics and their own energy, the trainer speaks gently to Tina, "come here, Tina." Tina immediately perks up, get's up, and tail-waggingly moves on over.
What makes this "act" so much more than an act, is the visible display of intimate voice recognition. Tina and her trainer have spent so much time together that Tina recognizes and responds to her voice. There is no second-guessing, no hesitation, and no delayed reactions. Tina's first and only response is to obey. Any other voice she is able to ignore. As soon as she recognizes the intimate familiarity of her trainer's voice, she is ready to obey. No questions asked.
Ananias had this degree of intimacy with Jesus. He heard a voice calling his name and there was no question as to who it was. His immediate response was "yes, Lord." How much time he must have invested in pursuing a closeness with Jesus! He had purposed to hear the voice of God. He had determined that he would not give into the quick thoughts and inclinations of his mind, but that he would quickly listen and obey every word that God would instruct. It was inconsequential that God would now ask him to do something that contradicted his common sense. Of course, the Lord was not calling him to do something "common." His closeness with Jesus would take him past common.
There is such a temptation to throw our spiritual lives into cruise control and auto-pilot. We say we believe, but the test of obedience comes when we hear the voice of God tell us to do something that goes against the grain of our "common sense."
So, how do you get so close to Jesus that you can not only hear His voice, but recognize His voice? Spend time with Him. Take time to read His word, think about His word, and apply the truth of His word to your everyday life. Pray and ask Him to show you what it is He wants you to see. As you purpose to listen, you will become more and more sensitive to the voice of God. Determine even now that the moment God begins to speak to your heart, that you will hear, listen, and obey. Don't miss out on a closeness with Jesus that will take you past common!