This week a Fijian speaker called Siria came and preached on hearing God’s voice. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about God this week. We are designed to be relational, to have a love relationship with God, after all we were created for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). God wants us to truly love Him. When we choose to dwell with Him, His ways become our way and His desires become our desires. Us learning to hear God’s voice deepens our relationship with Him. God wants to have a progressive relationship with us, it shouldn’t stay in one place, it should continue to move forward. Hearing God’s voice has to be a lifestyle that we can’t live without.
FOUR VOICES WE CAN HEAR
1. OUR OWN VOICE
If we want to progress in our walk with God, it is important that we die to our own imaginations, desires and burdens and give them to God. We should not lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Proverbs 28:26 says “he who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered”. Us trusting in our own insight is foolish. It demonstrates that we have taken control of our own lives and are therefore telling God that He is not in control! Isaiah 55:8-9 says that God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We must learn to quieten our thoughts and emotions and submit it under the Lordship of Christ in order to hear the voice of God. Jesus too had emotions and feelings yet even when faced with death He was able to control His emotions. Luke 22:42-44 speaks about He was sitting in the garden of Gethsemane and “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground”. WOW! Jesus knew what was about to take place, but He chose to do His father’s will.
2. VOICE OF OTHERS
We make the choice to either listen to the voice of others or bring it to submission. In the Garden of Eden, Eve listened to the serpent and Adam listened to Eve even though they both knew what the Lord had instructed. Who’s opinion will have priority; those around you or God’s?
3. VOICE OF THE ENEMY
Eve listened to the voice of the enemy who spoke through the serpent. We must remember that satan is very crafty (Genesis 3:1-4). Satan knew exactly what the Lord had said to Eve. Satan isn’t omnipresent or omnipotent, he doesn’t know what’s in our mind but he is able to hear our conversation with others. Although he has demons, he is limited in his power because he is NOT God.
1 Peter 5:8 says “be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”. The enemy likes to twist things around by making it look like God is responsible for the negative things that happen in our lives. Satan also doesn’t like relationships; he wants to kill our relationships with one another and most of all our relationship with God (John 10:10). Everything satan says will always be lies and will be negative because he is the father of all liars, he can’t tell the truth even if he wanted to (John 8:44). Satan can tempt us to do things (Matthew 4:3), but the decision is still ours because God has given us free will (1 Corinthians 10:13).
4. THE VOICE OF GOD
For someone to call himself or herself a Christian they must have a relationship with God right? And having a relationship with God means communication takes place through prayer and spending time in God’s Word. The Bible presents God as being the Shepherd and His followers the sheep. John 10:3 says the sheep listen to the Shepherd’s voice. The sheep will never follow a stranger’s voice. Therefore, the more time we spend with God, the more we will be able to distinguish His voice. He who belongs to God, hears what He says (John 8:47).
Every day, after Jesus performed miracles and ministered to others, He went away and spent time with God to hear His voice. He knew about the importance of having a relationship with God. God speaks to reveal His purpose and His ways for our lives, and also to prepare us for the things that are about to take place (John 16:13). When we take the time to hear God’s voice, He shares things with us. In Psalm 32:8 God said that He will teach us the way we should go and will instruct and advise us. If we want to go from glory to glory in our walk with God we must listen to His voice and through hearing Him speak, our mind is renewed as we see God differently.
Hearing God’s voice is a skill that has to be developed with practice. God is so eager and desperate to speak with you because your relationship with Him is soooo important to Him. If we do not ask God about things to do with our life, we presume. The definition of presume is; to undertake without right or permission and this is pride. Through the lack of seeking God in detail, pride can come in.
Remember: it is not only the pastors, prophets and the church elders that can hear God’s voice like in the Old Testament, He speaks to everyone, even to the non believers. When God speaks to us, it is always confirmed in His word. I want to challenge you all to practice hearing God’s voice everyday, listen and don’t just limit hearing His voice to just your quiet time with Him. Communicate with God throughout the day. He wants to talk to you!
THE WAYS GOD SPEAKS
THE HOLY BIBLE
God is a God of detail, He is very detailed in how He communicates with us. God speaks to us through His word, every Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). Everything about God is found in the scriptures. Joshua 1:8 encourages us to meditate on God’s word day and night. It should not depart from our mouths. Allow God to speak to you through His word and through the words that stand out to you whilst reading your Bible. The word of God is a lamp to guide you and a light for your path (Psalm 119:105). God never speaks against what is written in His word. Hebrews 4:12 declares that the word of God is living, and is active, and is sharper than any two-edged sword, it is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
GOD SPEAKS TO THROUGH THE INNER WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT
When you are praying and the Holy Spirit communicates spiritual feelings to your human spirit and you sense and feel something that is the inner witness of the spirit speaking to you. For example when you are have to make a decision and then you feel such overwhelming peace- that is God speaking (Philippians 4:7). Other examples include feeling inner joy or your feeling a heavy burden in your Spirit. In Luke 1:47 Mary’s inner spirit rejoiced in the Lord when she found out she was to become pregnant and give birth to the savior of the world!!! Our feelings and God’s spirit can also battle against one another.
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH THE INNER VOICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
When God speaks and you don’t do what God has asked it becomes disobedience. The voice of the Holy Spirit is a small still and gentle voice (1 King 19:12). Human ears can’t hear it, it is heard in the realm of the thoughts of our minds and our Spirit. It may also include the thoughts placed by God in your mind, which then gives your Spirit a deep peace. (Isn’t it amazing how God can speak to everyone on earth at the same time about different things?!)
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH OUR CONSCIENCE
The conscience knows the existence of God. Our conscience, which is ruled by the Holy Spirit, confirms things to us (Romans 9:1 GNT, Romans 2:15). This is why it is so important that we are in-tune with the Holy Spirit.
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH CIRCUMSTANCES
Jonah was running away from fulfilling his purpose so God allowed him to be swallowed by a whale for three days and three nights. God spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah on the dry land (Jonah 2). Another example is in Acts 16:25-30 a violent earthquake happened in the prison, through this event a family gave their life to Christ. God can create/allow circumstances to take place because He is trying to get our attention and speak to us. He can speak through lack of finances for example; He may be wanting us to check the condition of our heart. It is important we discern and ask God whether the circumstances are from Him or from the enemy.
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH VISIONS
A vision is a personal, pictorial presentation while you are awake, it shows us what we can’t see with our physical eyes. Through visions God always reveals hidden truth. Example of this in scripture are;
· Genesis 15:1
· Daniel 7:2
· Habakkuk 2:1-3
· Acts 2:17
· Acts 10:3
· Acts 16:9
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH DREAMS
· Genesis 37:5
· Jeremiah 23:28
· Matthew 2:13
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH AUDIBLE VOICE
Examples of God speaking to people through a audible voice include;
· Abraham (Genesis 17:9)
· Samuel (1 Samuel 3)
· Moses (Exodus 3:4)
· Paul (Acts 9:3-4)
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH ANGELS
Angels can come in human or in angelic form
· Exodus 19:12-24
· Exodus 23:20-21
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH SONGS/HYMNS
· Psalm 98:1
· Psalm 149:1
· Isaiah 42:10
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH OTHERS
· Luke 8:36-39
· John 1:40-42
· 2 Corinthians 7:13, 8:5
· Our Spirit can be refreshed by others
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH OUR EMOTIONS AND FEELINGS
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH CREATION
God can speak through rainbows, clouds, trees, the sky etc
CONDITIONS TO HEARING GOD’S VOICE
The following principles are essential in listening to God’s Voice
LORDSHIP-JESUS MUST BE LORD OF OUR LIFE
IF JESUS ISN’T LORD OF ALL IN YOUR LIFE, HE ISN’T LORD AT ALL! If Jesus isn’t Lord of all our hearts are divided and God is not supposed to be an added product in our lives. He doesn’t share His glory!
REPENT OF ANY UNCONFESSED SIN
The word repentance means a change of heart and mind. It involves admitting guilt and taking responsibility before God. It is important we confess our sins not only with our mouths, but with our hearts. A clean heart is necessary if we want to hear God’s voice (Psalm 66:18). If we want to find mercy we must confess our sins (Proverbs 28:13).
In order for God to speak to us, we must have faith and believe that God speaks and faith to believe what He says. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. We can’t see God but there is evidence of His existence, for example nature, creation, us being alive and breathing! Faith is key in our relationship with God. It will sustain us even during the times when we do not feel His presence.
How do we grow in faith?
· Through obedience to God
· Learn to know more about God & His character
· Learn to recognize God’s voice
· Learn to exercise the measure of faith you have been given.
We have to wait to hear God’s voice (Psalm 5:3), we have to listen more and talk less (James 1:19). Remember God already knows what’s on your mind. Be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
HINDERANCES TO HEARING GOD’S VOICE
LACK OF LOVE FOR GOD & OTHERS
· 1 John 14:15-24
· 1 John 4:7-12
· 1 John 4:15-21
If we doubt God and don’t believe what He is saying, we will always worry. It’s not enough for us to only have head knowledge about God. Our believe makes God a liar and breaks His heart. Unbelief shuts off intimacy with God. Many sins and disobedience come from unbelief, for example we may choose to sin because we don’t believe or agree with what God is saying i.e sex before marriage.
Holding grudges and failing to forgive others also shuts off intimacy from God. Matthew 6:14-15 declares that we should forgive others in order for God to forgive us. It is also wrong to make a vow to never forgive someone or visit someone. When you make such a vow, you become binded to the person. My advise to you is to release the person and let them go!
There is a quote that says “A man can hide his sin but not his pride”. Pride leads to destruction and arrogance to downfall (Proverbs 16:18). Someone who has pride is someone that thinks they don’t need God because they believe they can do everything by themselves. They think more highly of their own knowledge than God’s desires and wisdom. Satan tried to exalt himself to be just like God and as a result he was cast out of heaven. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:4-8).
We can’t serve two masters, we can’t serve both God and mammon (Matthew 6:24). Mammon represents money, wealth and earthly riches and possessions.
God wants us to be prosperous but prosperity is dangerous when the things we have come before Him. Examples of idols can be our phones, laptops, television, friends, family, jobs etc. Jude tells us in Jude 1:21 not to let anything take the place in our hearts that belongs to God. There are many more examples that I’m sure you could think of such as fear of man-trying to impress man more than God, busyness, lack of time management etc. My question to you is this: who will you serve and put first; God or the things of this world? What would it profit you to gain the whole world yet lose your soul (Mark 8:36)?