For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. Psalm 95:7-8 (NIV)
God speaks. For many people this is hard to understand and even more difficult for others to believe. I’m often asked, “How do I know if God spoke to me?” In response to that question, we will begin a new study series entitled, “When God Speaks.” As believers, “the people of God’s pasture”, we believe that God does speak to us. The more appropriate question is, “are we listening?”
Our belief in God’s speaking is sometimes tied to “false narratives” (wrong tapes playing in our head) about Who God is. Some see God as an indifferent creator looking down on us ready to punish us for doing wrong. Others see God as a benevolent grandfather patiently waiting to indulge our every need. Unfortunately both views are incorrect. Who is God and why does God want to speak to us?
First, God wants to be in relationship (not religion) with us (Isa. 49:15-16). When we spend time with Him, we begin to understand the love He has for us. During those intimate moments together, we discover His ways (how He operates in the world) and His paths (how He operates in our individual lives). (Ps. 25:4-5)
Secondly, God desires that we live free from the bondage of sin (Heb. 2:14-15). Satan and the world want to keep us in darkness through lies. These lies result in guilt, shame, and fear. God, however, wants us to know the truth—His truth concerning our identity (heirs of God and children of light) and our destiny (eternity with Him). It is this truth that sets us free (John 8:32).
Lastly, God longs for us to walk in the purpose He has ordained for our lives (Jer. 29:11). We are God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10) created for “good works” which include service to others. True joy in the Christian life is found in discovering the plans that God has for our lives. All things are possible with God (Mar. 10:27).
Although God desires to speak to believers, we have, unfortunately, developed “habits of behavior” that often hinder our ability to hear Him clearly. As we move through life, we have, metaphorically, “gotten on the wrong BUS”—a bus that frequently takes us away from God and toward the things of the world.
Busyness robs us of both energy and our ability to hear. Busyness most often is the result of wrong priorities. As a rule, we place importance on the things we value. Hearing from God deserves first priority. It’s hard to hear God when you’re multitasking; He gets caught between our thoughts and His voice becomes “muted”.
Unbelief houses all the lies we hold about ourselves and about God. We believe that God speaks to others but not us. We attribute this excuse to “being humble” but in reality we don’t believe that God is (His existence) or God can (His power) or God will (His promises)—so why talk to Him? There is always a “lie” in unbelief.
Self (sin, too) keep us from hearing from God. This happens when “self” (versus God) rules our life—self-righteousness, self-esteem, self-sufficiency, self-promotion. When self is on the “throne of our heart”, God finds no place for Him to sit (except on the outside). Sin separates us from a holy God. When sin dominates our life, God won’t talk or listen (Gen. 17:1). This condition, however, can be corrected (1 John 1:9).
Bob Sorge offers these thoughts concerning hearing God’s in his book, Secret of the Secret Places.
“Hearing the voice of God is largely a matter of the will. We must choose to hear Him. We must make the choice of setting aside time to listen quietly. This hearing is a today thing that we do. Hearing His (God’s) voice is conditional—built upon the condition of quieting out hearts to listen.”
Want to hear God speak? Begin “today” spending time at least 15 minutes per day reading God’s Word and listening for His voice. Journal what God tells you! Make the choice to get off the BUS!
SELAH: What are the things that interfere with your hearing God speak?
IS GOD SPEAKING IN THE MIDST OF ALL THE SOCIAL UNREST? YES! READ “DISCOVERING GOD IN THE PSALMS: THE SILENCE OF GOD”