“Anyone who listens to My teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” – Matthew 7:24 (NLT).

Then He added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. To those who listen to My teaching, more understanding will be given.” – Mark 4:24-25 (NLT)

Have you ever decided to do something only to have those plans end in a total disaster? Instead of experiencing an “I AM” moment, you had what I call an “AI” moment?

I AM moments are when the God of the universe—the great I AM—shows up in our life, lighting us on fire, stilling storms, and calling us to walk on water.

Amazing moments when we feel Jesus’ presence, and we “taste and see” His goodness. We get to know Him as LORD, not just Savior and Friend.


But then there are the “AI” moments. Am I talking about artificial intelligence? Well sort of, but not exactly. Let me explain.

Remember the story when Joshua moved Israel into battle against Ai without first inquiring of the Lord? In Joshua 7, after Israel’s huge victory over Jericho, they went to battle against the much smaller city of Ai. But instead of more celebration, Israel was soundly defeated.


For us, the AI moments are when we make decisions without seeking the Lord or heeding His instructions. Instead of pausing to pray, listen, and allow the Lord to lead, we move in our own wisdom and timing.

Then, like Joshua, we end up with an AI defeat. That defeat might be a simple, “Can I have a do-over on this?”—or it might lead us into a costly failure or devastating loss.


We are not immune to these mistakes. In our daily hustles for the Lord, we can easily forget to pause to be with Him. I know. I have scars, and plenty of coulda-woulda-shoulda memos to myself because I didn’t pause to be still and listen.

But I’ve gained truckloads of wisdom from these AI moments.


As an athlete, I’ve learned to be very good at listening to my body. How did I develop ears to hear it? Often, it’s been through making wrong decisions and then facing (or feeling) the consequences. In other words, I’ve learned to be wise by honestly reflecting back on the bad choices. Almost every time, I could recognize the whisper signals my body was sending—the ones I ignored before my body screamed and broke. The physical breaking was always a hard lesson, but extremely valuable. It has given me ears to hear.

In a similar way spiritually, the AI moments have helped me learn to identify the Lord’s voice. So when I fail, I look inward first.

Lord, what needs confessing and change? What Holy Spirit nudge did I miss? What Scripture passage did I read and repeatedly choose to ignore? What steps did I take in my own wisdom?


God is so good.


In His infinite mercy and grace, my confession of whatever He brings to the surface of that AI moment always opens the door for His Holy Spirit to redirect my steps and tune my eyes and ears back to Him. And then, the better I hear God’s voice in His Word, the more I can understand and apply it to my life.

Listening ears have also enabled me to get to the I AM moments the Lord gives me. Because I’ve learned to discern and obey the Lord’s voice, I can trust Him with my life. I have the courage to follow Jesus anywhere and the conviction to persevere through all kinds of circumstances.

Always remember that by God’s grace, our biggest mistakes can be our best lessons. When we repent, the Lord is masterful at taking our messes and turning them into messages!


The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. – Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. – Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)