Hearing God’s Voice

 

When I was born again I encountered and experienced God
This is what being born again means – a life-changing encounter with the living God
And, the beginning of a personal relationship with God called “eternal life”
Romans 6:23b “…the gift of God is eternal life”
John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that you may know God the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent…”
To have a healthy personal relationship with God (Jesus) you need, as in any relationship, to see, hear, and touch the person you are relating to

I was born again on a verse from 3 John
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers” (3 John 2)
So, I started my Bible study as a born again disciple of Jesus at 1 John.
As a new believers these are the first words I read in my Bible…
1 John 1:1-4 “We saw him with our very own eyes. We gazed upon him and heard him speak. Our hands actually touched him, the one who was from the beginning, the Living Expression of God. This Life-Giver was made visible and we have seen him. We testify to this truth: the eternal Life-Giver lived face-to-face with the Father and has now dawned upon us. So we proclaim to you what we have seen and heard about this Life-Giver so that we may share and enjoy this life together. For truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus, the Anointed One.”
ESV … “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
I accepted this as “the norm” for believers because it was what I experienced the night I got saved
I saw Jesus in the flesh – Christophany
I heard Him speak to me personally and privately
He wrapped His arms around me and hugged me -touch
See – hear – touch…
I have since learned that it is not the norm in most believers lives
But hearing God must be the norm…
In many of the churches I work in I ask people if they hear God for their personal life on a regular (almost daily) basis?
The vast majority say that they do not!
Many do not think that they have ever heard God….
And yet, the Bible states that any true believer and disciple of Jesus does hear His voice
I mean, how can you have a relationship with Someone you cannot hear?
The Bible states – not just the fact that they can hear Him in the personal relationship with Him but that they do hear Him
Even if they don’t think or know that they do!
John 10:3 “…the sheep hear His voice”
John 10:4 “…the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice”
They have taken the time to determine which voice is His voice…
Voice of tradition
Voice of religion
Voice of your opinion
Voice of your feelings
Voice of your friends
Voice of your generation
Voice of your peers
Voice of your past (wounds, events)
Voice of demons
Voice of your culture (society)
Voice of God (Jesus)
John 10:16 “…they will listen to (obey) My voice”
You know, we often miss hearing His voice because we only seek to hear Him when we are in a crunch or a crisis
When we are in need of guidance or help and so don’t recognize His voice
We often go to God to hear His voice when we have decided to do something and want Him to confirm that it is a good thing or the right move at this time in your life
So, we miss hearing His voice … and only hear an echo of the voice of our own will (desire)
We often think we are hearing God’s voice when really it is our own thoughts and feelings speaking to us
So, we need to pull down these strongholds – arguments and lofty opinions
(2 Corinthians 10:5)
We go to God when emotionally we are needing help because life is overwhelming us and we are having difficulty coping with things and people
And, all we hear is our emotions screaming at us and miss hearing the voice of God
So, God’s people become confused and frustrated when they don’t clearly hear what they should do in their daily situations and encounters with people and circumstances
And often conclude that God is not speaking to them and thus not helping them in their desperate time of need
Or, they revert to some series of formulas and gimmicks for hearing the voice of God
Or, they try to be good and do good so they can earn God’s attention and maybe receive His wisdom
Or, they simply conclude that God does not speak to them or even speak at all into current situations and circumstances for anyone
But God does want a dynamic relationship with you and the way that relationship will be cultivated so that you can hear – see – touch is as unique as you are… There is no formula
However, for everyone the key is to focus on developing the kind of relationship with God that will empower you to hear God speaking regularly.
The closer you get to God, the more you can enjoy ongoing conversations with Him, both listening to Him and hearing from Him,
The closer you get to God, the more God will use those conversations to transform you into the person He wants you to become.
Warning:
You may hear things you really don’t want to hear
You may need to change some things in your life
You may be seriously pushed to change who you are
You may be encouraged to build relationships you really don’t want
You may be asked to go places you don’t want to go
You may feel stretched and challenged
You may become uncomfortably vulnerable and transparent before others
You will become the person God created you to be
So, in general, here are 9 things to ponder on and maybe even discuss with others you trust
9 things to consider so you can hear from God and recognize His voice on a regular daily basis…
Know it is Him speaking and hearing Him accurately
1. Recognize that God has created you for a close relationship with Himself.
By design, the way you hear best from God is in the context of a relationship with Him.
Not just speaking to Him daily because you want or need something
Not just speaking to gain wisdom as to what to do in a situation
Not just to sort through the next steps to your life or ministry
Just build a good relationship with Him for who He is and don’t base the relationship on you
Your needs
Your wants
Your dreams
Your desires
Your emergency
Your crisis
You build a relationship with Him because of who He is and because you enjoy hanging out with Him
You know, like any decent friendship or relationship you have with another human being
God intends for you to figure out His will freely and intelligently as you engage in regular conversations with Him.
But basically, God’s will is to be personally present with you and speaking with you moment by moment as you go through life.
Then you’ll grow to understand Him more and become more like His Son, Jesus.
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2. Consider your motives for wanting to hear from God.
Honestly reflect on why you want to hear from God.
Is it because you’re truly open to whatever God has to say
Committed to putting His guidance into action and fulfilling His purposes, even when doing so is challenging, even difficult?
Or is it for a selfish reason, such as wanting to feel righteous or comforted?
Or maybe because you need God to meet a lot of needs and to intervene in your life
Wrong reasons – Wrong motives
Confess and repent of any wrong motives.
Ask God to give you an openness to hear and respond faithfully to what He wants to tell you
Not just respond to what you are asking for or demanding
Your motive must be to build a strong relationship with Him – not to receive something
3. Make your goal more than just hearing God.
While it’s important to hear from God, that shouldn’t be your ultimate goal.
And having your needs met should never never be your goal in hearing God
Receiving direction is good but that too should not be your goal
Instead, your main goal should be to build a close, personal relationship with God.
And, as a result of that, to become a spiritually mature person
That’s the only way you’ll clearly and correctly hear what God has to say to you.
4. Know that you’re important to God, but be humble.
Have the confidence that God is willing to speak to you just as powerfully as He did to the people in the Bible
He loves you and He values you just as much as any of those Jesus related to in the New Testament accounts
However, when you begin to hear God on a fairly regular basis – both for yourself and for others – don’t let pride creep into your soul
“God resists the proud…” (James 4:6a)
You must be humble in order to faithfully receive and respond to what God says to you
Even with the prophetic – God can use a donkey… don’t take yourself too seriously
5. Don’t try to force God to tell you something.
No matter how much you want to hear from God about something or how hard you may try to convince Him to speak to you, you’ll only hear from God when He chooses to communicate with you.
Focus on developing a respectful relationship with God and wait for His timing to deliver messages to you about your issues …
Listen as He speaks daily about “His issues”
Also, if God chooses not to give you specific guidance about something you’ve prayed about
And what you’re considering is within the Bible’s moral principles, you can confidently go ahead and make your own decision about what to do and be within God’s will
In this case watch the level of inner peace of heart and mind… Colossians 3:15 in the Good News Bible
“The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make…”
6. Recognize that God communicates in many forms, but most often in your spirit.
God may choose any one of many different ways to communicate to you, according to what’s best at particular times and in particular circumstances.
You may sometimes hear God’s message in dramatic ways, such as through angels, visions, or miraculous events.
But more often, you’ll hear God speaking in your spirit as a “still small voice” (a whisper)
God who is Spirit (John 4:24) speaks to the Holy Spirit who lives in your spirit
Your spirit is born again and thus touches the spiritual realm
Your spirit hears / sees everything 100% accurately and clearly because His Spirit lives in you
For you to be aware of what God has spoken it must come up through your soul – your mind, will and emotions
If you have issues – greed, your opinions, your agenda, unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, offences then what you heard accurately will arrive in your mind twisted and distorted
Balaam, Balak, and the donkey (Numbers 22)
God can speak to your spirit:
Through the Bible
In prayer
Through a teaching
Through other books
Through other people
Through dramatic events in your life
Directly as a voice – inside your heart or even audibly
Often you will leave your time with God thinking that you have not heard from Him
Yet a day or two later you realize that God has given you direction
It takes time for what you have received to go from your spirit (spiritual) to your mind (natural)
His goal is for you to be so closely connected to Him that you’ll pay attention whenever He speaks to you regardless of what He speaks about
7. Renew your mind.
God wants you to  develop and have what the Bible calls the “mind of Christ” (Philippians 2:5)
The ability to make decisions and live life as Jesus would
Because of this, it’s crucial for you to follow the Bible’s urging in Romans 12:2:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
As you invite the Holy Spirit to renew your mind every day, He will cleanse it from such dirt and clutter as false beliefs and attitudes, unhealthy feelings, and misguided plans.
Then the Holy Spirit will replace all of that with true thoughts that reflect God’s purposes.
Truth: The more you know God’s Word – really know what it says and not what you think or want it to say – the more you will hear the voice of God and hear Him accurately
And, then you test what you hear back to the Bible as that is the only perfect Word
8. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you when you read the written word.
When you read the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to make the Bible’s words come alive for you and speak to you
Let Him speak to you through the written Word a “now word” from the Lord
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
The Passion Translation: “For we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone and marrow meet! It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.”
9. Set aside time regularly to listen for God’s messages and come to these times expectant.
Make a habit of intentionally and expectantly listening for whatever God may want to tell you.
It’s more important to become a person who listens regularly to God than it is to constantly ask God to give you guidance or meet your needs
He does now what you have need of even before you ask
Let Him speak what is on His heart as what He is thinking and feeling is so much more important to Him and to you than our thoughts and feelings
Expect Him to speak to you and He will…
And a final comment: Keep a journal to remember the things He brings to life in you.