God speaks to us through His character. God’s basic character is love and so He speaks to us and responds to us from within His loving and compassionate character.
How we see the character of God affects our relationship with Him. Since God will never tell us to do anything that is outside His character, we must get to know the very nature of God so we can be sure we are truly hearing from Him. We must understand His compassionate nature and how He longs for our intimacy and trust.
One of the most familiar verse in the Bible states, “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). God’s nature is revealed in this revelation of God as the Lover of humankind. God is love (1 John 4:7-8) and He loves us. We are precious in His sight and He yearns for us. He wants to reveal Himself to us. He is passionately pursuing us!
The familiar scripture verse goes on to say that God so loved the world that “He gave…” He not only wants us to be lovers of people as He is, He wants us to be givers. He wants us to act like He does — to live by His character. For example, He always tells the truth. He sets the example for us to do the same and be truthful people, true to our word.
The Bible tells us that God “…make known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel” (Psalm 103:7 NKJV). Because Moses was in relationship with the Lord, he had learned to know the character of the Lord; however, the children of Israel only saw the things that God did because they did not have a personal relationship with Him. The saw His actions – the what God did – without knowing the ‘why’ behind the actions. When we get to know God and develop a love relationship with Him, we will know what God wants us to do and why He wants us to do it. He will “make known” His ways to us and we will hear His voice clearly.
So, God reveals His character through His love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 offers us a description of what love is. When we substitute the word “God” for “love” in these verses, we get an accurate picture of God’s character.
Love (God) is patient and kind; love (God) does not envy or boast; it (He) is not arrogant or rude. It (He) does not insist on its own way; it (He) is not irritable or resentful; it (He) does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love (God) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love (God) never fails.
Another version reads (substituting God for the word ‘love’):
“God is patient, God is kind, God does not envy, God does not boast, God is not proud, God is not rude, God is not self-seeking, God is not easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs, God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, God always protects, God always trusts, God always hopes, God always perseveres, God never fails.”
God’s love is revealed so that mankind can be liberated. The Scriptures tell us the Lord is one “Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies…” (Psalm 103:3-4 NKJV). This is who our God is! This is His basic character. He is a God who is forgiving and a God of healing who wants to redeem our lives from destruction.
What does it mean for God to redeem us?
The word ‘redeem’ means ‘to buy back.’ I’ve heard the story of a young boy, who after spending many hours constructing a little boat, took it to the lake to sail. With a long string attached to the boat, the boy was having a great time as the boat floated and bobbed. Suddenly, the string tore. In an instant, he lost his prized possession and could only watch as the boat headed down stream where it eventually exited into the river. He thought it was gone forever.
Several years later, this lad entered a pawn shop in a town downstream from where he grew up. He spotted the boat that he had built years before. The young man approached the storekeeper and said, “This is my boat. My initials are carved on the bottom.”
The owner said, “Well, I’m sorry, but someone brought that boat into my store and I bought it from him. You’ll ned to pay me for it.” The young man immediately paid the shopkeeper so he could buy back his cherished boat.
This is a picture of what God did for us. God made you and me. As we went our own way, He loved us so much He redeemed us and bought us back again at great cost – the cost of His Son’s life.
When you responded to God’s offer of reconciliation that is possible because of Jesus’ death on the cross, a marvellous transformation occurred. You became a brand new person. You are a new creation in Christ. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!” And, you now have the supernatural ability to actually hear the voice of God (John 10:3-4)
An elephant becoming a butterfly would be no greater miracle! Yes, there is an indescribable miracle that happens inside of us as we live by faith in Jesus. Faith is believing and trusting in God and God alone. It’s not a matter of “turning over a new leaf” or just changing some of our old ways of doing things. No, a miracle has happened inside. We know by faith in the Word of God that we are new creations in Jesus Christ. Christianity is walking by faith, not by sight! We know we can hear God speak to us because Christ now lives in us (Galatians 2:20).
One of the basic markers of God’s voice is that Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God (John 1:1). We know we are hearing God’s voice when we compare what we are hearing with the character, words, spirit and acts of Christ. The resurrection of Jesus – the fact that He is alive – is central to hearing from God. Because He is alive He still speaks to us today. The Holy Spirit speaks to our born again spirit and we can know His voice and accurately hear what He is speaking to us.
Hebrews 1:2 asserts that God has spoken through His Son. If we want to hear from God, we will follow Jesus and observe His words. We know we are hearing God’s voice when it matches the character and words of Jesus. Listen to Him!
Sometimes we feel we cannot hear from God because we are not righteous enough. There is sin in our currently life situation. But the truth is that Jesus has made us righteous by faith in Him. When God looks at us He sees Jesus first!
In the Chinese language, the word for “righteousness” is the combination of two pictures. On top is the figure of a lamb; directly beneath is that of a person. What a perfect image of the righteousness that Christ alone provides! Whenever the Father looks at you, He first sees the perfect Lamb of God, ‘hiding’ you. Certainly God is aware of any sin in our lives, but that isn’t what He’s primarily aware of in any believer. What He sees first and foremost is the beauty of His Son enveloping us.
No matter where you are in your spiritual journey with Christ, God sees the beauty of Jesus in you.
You can have a full life! Christ wants to give us a full, abundant life, and He tells us so when He says, “I have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV).
The word ‘life’ is translated from the Greek word “Zoe” which means the very nature of God and source of life. The abundant life, then, is life filled with the very nature of God inside of us. This life is abundant in quantity and quality — overflowing life. That is the kind of life that God has prepared for us as His children.
As we learn to walk and talk with God over the years, we get to know His heart, His character, and His ways. If we are committed to following His character and His ways, He can give us a greater liberty because we become “one with Him.” As our spirit becomes filled with His Spirit, and our desires begin to merge with His, we walk in His ways. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one (John 10:30) and “I do nothing win my own but speak just what the Father has taught Me” (John 8:28). Jesus was one with His Father and was given freedom by His Father on the earth. He knew His heavenly Father so well that He modeled His Father’s character and only did what He saw His Father doing.
The Bible says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 20:4, 37:4). This means He puts His desires into our hearts as we follow Him. This means He slowly changes our desires to come into line with His plan and purpose for our life – His desires for us. This means God speaks to us by slowly adjusting the desires of our hearts even when we are not aware that He is doing so.
Let’s hear Him speak to us by what He reveals through His character that extends to each of us His unconditional love, acceptance, forgiveness and righteousness.