In many Church environments it’s perfectly normal to hear people say things like “God told me this, or that” but we forget sometimes how confusing that can be to unbelievers, or to brand new Christians. I mean, how does God speak to you? Is it in an actual, audible voice?
The Bible is filled with accounts of God speaking to people. Does He still speak today? Absolutely. But how?
Jesus promised his disciples (including today’s disciples) that He would send His Holy Spirit, who would be our teacher, our comforter, our guide our empower:
“There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’ John 16:12–15
For today I want to look at just 3 ways, that I believe, through studying this topic and through personal experience, that The Lord speaks to us.
1. Through Scripture
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16
The Word of God is always current. It never goes out of date;
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8
In God’s Word we find instruction for daily living, words of love, encouragement, warning, guidance and discipline, or a lesson for life.
God’s written Word is there for us to equip us: 2 Timothy 3:17
“that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
If you want to hear God, the first port of call is His Written Word, and God will never instruct you to do anything that contradicts His Word.
2. An “Impression”
By Impression, I mean a strong, persistent thought. This might be a verse of scripture or a phrase. For example, for the last few days, I’ve had the phrase “incline your ear to me” running through my mind, impressing on my heart. There are a few verses in the Bible where we are told to incline our ear to God.
Incline Your Ear – it’s about Intimacy
Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live;
“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.
It’s the ears of our hearts that listen – not our physical ears. It’s a nudging on the inside that we learn, over time spent with Him, to recognise as His voice:
Proverbs 2:1-2 tells us “make your ear attentive and “incline your heart” hmm, now that got me thinking!
Make your ear attentive:
Like any relationship, our relationship with The Lord grows and develops by spending time with Him. We get to know His voice by practicing listening to His voice. There is no shortcut to learning to recognise God’s voice, in the same way that there’s no way to “fast forward” any relationship from its early days to maturity.
Do you want to hear and recognise God’s voice? Then spend time with Him. The more time you spend with Him, the better you will know His voice. If I was blindfolded in a room with 100 other people all talking at once, I could pick out my Husband’s voice, because I know him. My ear is tuned to the sound of His voice.
The beautiful part about Proverbs 2:1–2 is that God tells us incline your heart. Think about that for a moment;
In part 1 of this series, I wrote a little about the still, small voice of God. Have you ever thought about why God doesn’t boom from Heaven in His mighty voice? He could if He wanted to – He’d certainly have our attention! A soft, gentle, whisper, almost imperceptible, is the voice our Almighty, All-Powerful God chooses, to speak, to His beloved ones. (That’s you) That’s why you need to incline your ear. It’s about paying attention, yes, but it’s also about moving in close enough to hear God. It’s about intimacy with Him. You need to move in close enough to hear His still, small voice…
Sometimes we discern the voice of God as simply a deep sense of peace regarding a situation, after we have prayed about it. On the other hand, a feeling of unease- or lack of peace about the same situation, can often be God’s way of getting our attention to say “no, don’t go there.”
In our busy, day to day lives, it is possible to train ourselves to have a listening ear–an ear that is inclined to the Lord. We can be doing other things while a part of us is attentive, watching, waiting for God to speak.
It’s a learned behaviour; a relationship that grows and develops over time with care and input from our side – God does His part, He speaks, He reaches out to us in love, but we so easily get caught up and distracted by other things. I’m so thankful that my Father God is kind and patient with me! (Psalm 103:8)
I haven’t “arrived”. I sometimes think I’ve heard God and get it wrong. But then, I mishear my husband sometimes too! This morning he said to me as he was leaving “I’ve left you some money to get your Rooibos” (that’s the tea I drink) and I was so sure that he said “I’ve left you money to get your lollipops” Yet I know my husband better than I know anyone else.
So don’t beat yourself if you get it wrong sometimes. You haven’t “failed”. The Bible tells us to train our ear to listen. How do we train at anything except by doing, and practice until it just becomes second nature.
Keep seeking Him, keep drawing close to Him, and you will hear Him.
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