We make decisions hundreds of times a day. Sometimes it’s something as simple as what to eat for breakfast, but sometimes it’s something as significant and life-altering as who to marry. Though God cares about every part of our lives, the bigger decisions especially deserve God’s consultation. We are fallible (and sometimes very ignorant!) human beings. Making significant decisions alone is foolish—and sometimes life-threatening. We need God’s wisdom. In fact, God commands us to acknowledge Him in all our ways so He can direct our decision-making.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).
We live in an imperfect world with an imperfect body and intellect. God knew we needed help navigating the craziness, so He made us capable of hearing His voice. To hear His voice we need to understand and put into action key points.
Know and Believe Your Ability to Hear
First, we need to begin with having faith, or confidence, in our ability to hear from Him. We receive everything from God through our faith. According to God’s Word, we can’t receive anything without it (Hebrews 11:6). To have confidence in God’s will to speak to us, we need to find that will in His Word and believe it.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27, NLT).
Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come (Jeremiah 33:3, NLT).
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking (James 1:5-6, NLT).
Once we are confident in God’s desire to speak to us, we need to be open to receiving His instruction from several sources.
God’s first and most important communication of His will is found in His Word. Even though some things aren’t so specific, God’s Word upholds principles that never change and will always stand (Matthew 24:35). We won’t find what car we’re supposed to buy, what apartment we’re supposed to live in, or what church we’re supposed to attend, or what person we’re to marry. But we will find the foundational principles to help lead the way.
All forms of direction must always line up with what His Book is saying. If it does not, these forms are simply from someone’s mind and opinions. But if it can be backed by God’s Word, then we can trust its accuracy.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105, NKJV).
When we received Jesus as Lord and Savior, God’s perfect nature came to live inside us. It replaced the sinful spirit we were born with (2 Corinthians 5:17). That “new creation” can communicate with Him and know His will. As we get to know God through prayer and reading His Word, our spirits will become stronger. Over time, we’ll be able to hear our spirit’s voice—our conscience. We’ll sense what is right and what is wrong. If we’re about to make a wrong decision, our conscience will speak up. We may not hear an audible voice, but we will sense that uneasiness like something isn’t God’s will. The same is true of the right decision. Our spirit will be at peace as we consider the correct option that aligns with God’s will.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit—the third person of the Trinity—also gives direction and reveals God’s will. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit had not been sent, so God directly talked to His people or sent messages via angels and prophets. Now we have the Holy Spirit to represent Father God (John 14:16). He still speaks to our spirit on the inside, but it is often stronger and with more authority. Rather than an inner sense as when our conscience is talking, the Holy Spirit will speak with words. His voice may even seem like someone else talking live and in person to us, though no one else may be able to hear (i.e. Samuel in 1 Samuel 3). Without fail, if it is truly the Holy Spirit speaking, what He says will always follow the principles of God’s Word.
Prophecy is a word from God spoken through people. God used this method many, many times throughout the Bible. The prophecies were words of direction, warning, and foretelling of things to happen in the future. Sometimes it was telling of things that had already occurred. Whatever the case, men’s and women’s mouths were used in the New and Old Testaments (1 Corinthians 12:7-10).
God may use other people to speak directly into our lives. It’s not to take the place of His Word or direct communication with our spirit or the Holy Spirit. But it can bring clarity to moments of indecision or challenging times. If it is legitimate, it will match up, or “bear witness,” with what our spirit is saying.
All forms of direction—communication from the Holy Spirit, prophecy, or what we sense our spirit telling us—must always line up with what His Book is saying. If it does not, these forms are simply from someone’s mind. But if it can be backed by God’s Word, then we can trust its accuracy.
Desire to Hear
As wonderful as it is to hear from God, we can have a lack of a desire to hear from Him. This may be because we lack confidence in God’s solution while putting more stock in man’s solution. We trust our instincts and intellect more than we trust His. Or we may not want to do the will of God because it will challenge us to adjust our lifestyle to God’s Word. This is a lack of faith and keeps us from receiving anything from God, no matter how badly God may want us to have it. Regardless of the reason, to hear from God, we must desire to hear from Him.
…as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow
thereby (1 Peter 2:2, NKJV).
To be continued…
3 thoughts on “Hear, Part 1”
Good article! We need to be led by the Lord in all our lives.
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Beautifully written. Without directions from God, we are living for ourselves and not for Him.
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