Listening to God

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have a sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. (1 Peter 1:13-22 NIV)

Last month, I posed the question “what does it look like to be a movement saturated in prayer?” Initially, I had written down practical applications of prayer, such as “young people from all different denominational backgrounds in prayer rooms worshipping together and interceding for the lost; leaders spending hours at the feet of Jesus listening to His heart for what ministry looks like in their context; Youth for Christ teams walking their neighbourhoods praying for their city and the young people in them,” etc. However, I was reminded that these are all outworkings of a deeper reality: a heart that is totally surrendered to God’s work, God’s way. It’s our heart that is impacted when we give ourselves to prayer, so to be a movement that is saturated in prayer means, first and foremost, that we are a movement that gives God permission to have His way in all of our lives and ministries. As we do this, God will start prompting our own heart where it may have gone astray, leading us back to His best for us. This is where holiness comes in. I like how the Amplified version states 1 Peter 1:15:

But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your conduct [be set apart from the world by your godly character and moral courage].

Prayer is just as much about listening to God as it is talking to God, and it’s as we listen and respond to His still small voice that our hearts can be aligned to His which will then be reflected in changed behaviours and attitudes. This can be a painful process, but it’s worth it to be all that God created us to be and so that we can be a shining light to the rest of the world (Philippians 2:14-15). Listen and reflect on your own life as you read how Andrew was impacted by this truth in the past year.

During a recent lockdown, of which for us in Australia there have been a few, I found myself binging on a Netflix series and consuming way more social media than I should have. One day, I felt the Lord whisper to me, “Andrew, you’re missing this gift of being with me.” He was right. When else is one forced to stay at home and given the gift of solitude with the Lord? What’s more, the Lord began to impress on my heart that in order to have Him, I had to give up what isn’t Him. I made a conscious choice to switch off Facebook and stop consuming media and it was truly the greatest gift to me. I began to meditate on these words in 1 Peter: “Be Holy as I am Holy,” and I found myself walking as He created me to, in His holiness.

The truth is, I often forget that I am called to be holy as He is holy. Holiness isn’t trendy these days, nor is it trending, either in the world or in the church. What’s trending is being “relevant,” being “politically correct” and being “inclusive;” embracing anything and everything. Yet Christ’s call on our life is to be set apart from this world, and to be holy as He is holy. When I think of how I might have the greatest impact on the nation of Australia and how Youth for Christ might have the greatest impact on the nations of the world, I cannot help but see that holiness holds a significant key:

Holiness is what we were created for. Adam and Eve were sinless and spotless in the garden before the fall. Christ came to reconcile us to Himself and take away our sins, restoring us to this holy standing with God. If we want the life to the full that Christ offers, it comes with holiness. That doesn’t mean we need to strive for holiness, it is what has been purchased and we simply need to receive it and walk in it.

Holiness is what everyone is actually looking for. The Samaritan woman at the well, the powerful religious leader Nicodemus, the rich young ruler who wanted to know how he could be saved, they all came across Jesus with one common question, spoken or unspoken: “How can I be saved and how can my soul be satisfied?” They were through with trying to find that answer in sex, money and power, even religion; these things simply couldn’t satisfy. The answer they needed could only ever be found in Jesus and in having their sins taken away, by becoming holy! The world today is also looking for holiness. Holiness is the answer to a stained and weary world.

Holiness is possible. I often hear the argument that we are positionally holy but not actually holy. To this I respond, “Were you positionally a sinner, or actually a sinner?” Jesus didn’t call us to holiness to watch us fail. He called us to holiness because it was made possible through His blood. We are now holy thanks to Christ, some of us just need to embrace this position (and that may start with turning off the TV!).

I see us as a movement saturated in holiness and I can’t wait to see how it sets us and the world around us free!

Maybe you can relate to his story of doing something that is not “wrong” (watching TV isn’t a sin) but is actually not beneficial for where you are right now, nor the best use of your time in that moment. Or maybe the content of what you are consuming on screen is not helpful for your walk with Christ. Only you will know what the Lord has been prompting you on, whether it be TV viewing or attitudes towards your family or friends! So this month, I invite you to take it to the Lord in prayer and then respond with the appropriate act of obedience. Be transparent like David, who was able to cry out:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV)

In addition, let’s pray:

  • For ourselves and Youth for Christ as a whole, that we can be a movement that walks in holiness and transparency, standing out from how the rest of the world operates
  • For young Christians to walk in the holiness that Christ purchased with His precious blood, free from the sin that tangles them up and slows them down
  • For those that don’t yet know Christ to come to know Him and receive His salvation and holiness

It’s time we looked different from the world and embraced the holiness He purchased for us.

God bless,

Lyndal Walker
International Prayer Director

Andrew Scarborough is the Ministry Director of Youth for Christ Australia, a young leader with a huge passion for the lost and a boldness in evangelism that is contagious. Andrew is married to Joyce and they have three beautiful children. To find out more about the Scarboroughs, go to: