Begin by reading and reflecting on Hebrews 3:12-13.
You want God to speak, but are you willing to hear him speak to you through others? Make no mistake about it – you need to hear from others for your own progress in the faith. The author of Hebrews says that through mutual exhortation believers are protected from the hardening influences of sin.
Make no mistake about it – you need to listen to others, because otherwise, sin begins to petrify your heart. This means you become less sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and increasingly insensitive to the ugliness of your own corruption. A petrified heart is an ugly irony because it is like a returning to the heart of stone God once removed and replaced with a heart of flesh.
To work against this hardening, God calls you to be in and to listen to the Christian community. Proverbs tells us there are answers to be found in the counsel of friends (Prov.24:6). What this implies is that you need the local church, and you need to see the body of Christ as the people God brings into your life to learn from.
So the local church must be more than a weekly event. It needs to be your covenant community and extended family who have the right and privilege to exhort you – to speak into your life when you need it most. From words of encouragement to gentle but needed rebuke, the words of wisdom and insight are all around you. Are you listening?
Taken from Chap.23 “Listen to Others” (found in Part Two, “The Gospel and Others”) in Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself by Joe Thorn (Crossway, 2011), pp.83-84.